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Copiapoa humilis

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Copiapoa humilis

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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 0C

Propagation: Seeds (offsets rarely), Grafting is often used to speed growth rate and to create a back-up to plants in collection.

 

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Family: Cactaceae (Cactus Family)

Scientific name:   Copiapoa humilis (Phil.) P.C. Hutchison
In: Studies of South American Cactaceae, Cactus & Succulent Journal (USA), 25(2): 34-37; (3):63-72 1953.

Original Description: Echinocactus humilis Philippi Not Pfeiffer,
In: Florula Atacamensis 23. 1860. 1837

Origin Antofagasta, to the north of Paposo, towards Blanco Encalada,Chile. (Type locality: Paposo, Antofagasta, Chile)

Habitat:  Native to the coastal deserts on the steep mountain base among fragmented stones. 50-300 m of altitude.  The long tuberous root of this copiapoa is buried deeply in these soils which are very poor in organic matter. In the area where this plants grows there is very little rain but frequent coastal fog, which provides a significant part of their water needs.The common presence in habitat of plants with juvenile spination forms on old taproots is due to the frequent grazing damage inflicted by donkeys.

Conservation status: Listed in CITES appendix 2.
 

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 C. 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, grey, 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.
 

 


 

Photo of conspecific taxa, varieties, forms of plants belonging to the Copiapoa humilis/taltalensis complex (This Taxon has lots of synonyms (like most copiapoas) with several controversial varieties and subspecies):

Home | E-mail | Plant files | Mail Sale Catalogue | Links | Information | Search

All the information and photos in cactus art file are now available also in the new the Enciclopedia of Cacti. We hope you find this new site informative and useful.