# # # SPECIAL PLANT # # # (Selected specimen)
|Description: Very small low growing cactus sometime solitary but usually clumping at the base. It's a highly variable taxon with several more or less similar forms that could be described as local varieties. Taylor suggests that this is a very complex species or species aggregate, perhaps representing geographical varieties or, in some cases, critical species, listed here in sequence from north to south: C. tocopillana, C. tenuissima, C. variispinata, C. paposoensis, C. taltalensis, C. longispina and possibly C. chaniaralensis and C. esmeraldana.
In considering Copiapoa humilis species, we need to bear in mind the remarkable differences between young plants, with short, thin spination and the darker coloration of the body compared to the more robust adults with longer and sturdy, flexible spines.
Stem: Subglobular, depressed, pale olive -green to tan producing copious wool in the apex. . 2.5-9 cm. broad by 2-6 cm. high.
Ribs: About 8-14 forming distinct tubercles.
Areoles: Well separated, with white wool.
Root: Large tap-root, connected to the stem by long slender neck. Seedlings naturally produce the huge tap root, starting from germination, i.e. before the plant stem becomes mature.
Radial spines: About 7-13, thin, needle-like, setaceous, greyish, open wide on sides, 2-25 mm long.
Central spine: 1 to 4, sometime absent on juvenile specimen, fairly slender, erect, gray, straight or curved 10-35 mm long.
Flower: 2-4 cm. long, corolla sulphur yellow, scented. In cultivation in the C. humilis are able to flower from immature stems at an early age (c. 2 years from germination) and set viable seed.
Fruit: Round, naked, bright red, up to 8 mm long.
Cultivation: Need full sun otherwise the bodies tended to elongate in cultivation, but should be protected from excessive heat and sun in summer, Require light watering, good drainage, and deep pot to accommodate tap root. . Keep warm and dry in winter to avoid rot. Frost tolerance 0°C
Propagation: Seeds (offsets rarely), Grafting is often used to speed growth rate and to create a back-up to plants in collection.