Puna bonnieae DJF 319 - Cuesta Loro Huasi

Puna bonnieae DJF 319 - Cuesta Loro Huasi

Puna bonnieae DJF 319 - Cuesta Loro Huasi

This small geophytic opuntioid looks like a small Tephrocactus geometricus, but the bloom, fruit and the seeds clearly show its autonomous nature.
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This small  geophytic  opuntioid looks like a small Tephrocactus geometricus, but the  bloom,  fruit and the  seeds clearly show its autonomous nature.

Family: Cactaceae (Cactus Family)

Scientific Name: Puna bonnieae D. J. Ferguson & R. Kiesling 1997 
Published in:  David J. Ferguson & Roberto Kiesling CASS(US) Vol.69 No.6

Conservation status:  Listed in CITES Appendix II

Distribution:  type locality is Río Guanchín, near Loro (Lora) Huasí, Dept. Tinogasta, prov. Catamarca, Argentina ca. 2000 m

Habitat: It grows on high altitude in an almost lifeless rocky soil. The climate conditions are extremely dry, with scarce  rains. During the dry time, the plant bodies are almost completely retracted and hidden into the ground

Etymology: The genus  name “Puna” derives from the indigenous word "Puna" that indicate the western region up to 4500 m that extends from the Peru, going throughout Bolivia to the Argentinean North. Delimited  at west by a costal chain of high volcanic picks and by the Cordillera mountainous chain to the east. The Argentinean Puna is the natural continuation of the Bolivian highland.


  • Opuntia bonnieae (D.J. Ferguson et R. Kiesling) J.J. Halda et Z. Janeba 1999
  • Maihueniopsis bonnieae (D.J. Ferguson & R. Kiesling) E.F. Anderson1999,  
    In: Cactus and Succulent Journal [U. S. ] 71 (6): 325, 1999
  • Puna rugosa (seldom seen in cultivation under the provisional name Puna rugosa - officially undescribed - but Opuntia rugosa Griffiths already exists and grows in southern California.

Puna bonnieae Flower Light Pink , 4 cm in diameter
Discovered by D. J. Ferguson, S. Hogan and Bonnie Brunkow in the early 1990 

Description: This is a small geophytic opuntioid that looks like a small Tephrocactus geometricus, but the bloom, fruit and the seeds clearly show its autonomous nature. During the dry season they are hidden in the ground. It forms slowly small cushion up to 15 cm in diameter.
Stem: Small usually globular, obconical to slightly elongated up to 2.5 cm tall and in diameter, they are broadly attached basally and do not detach easily from the mother plants. It is possibly an adaptation to high altitudes. They are dull blue-green but turns to dirty grey as they ages.
low, bordered with grooves and slightly depressed in the centre in correspondence of the areole.
Up to 30 per segment, closely set, with glochids and spines only in the upper part of the stem.
Central spines: Absent.
Radial spines: 9 to 20. Pinkish, orangish, reddish to darker brown in the young stems, they turn to a whitish grey colour with age. They are very short, flattened and radiating and slightly bent over the stem.

Roots: It has a large turnip, branched, subterranean storage root (The roots of Tephrocactus are fibrous)
Flower: Flower Light Pink or Pinkish, 3-4 cm in diameter, arising from buds with white felt. The pericarp is naked or has only few areoles with some bristle-like spines up to 3 mm long. This feature is typical for Punas (While the pericarpus of Theprocactus has numerous areoles)
Fruit: The fruit is obovoid, top shaped, about 1-1,5 cm long almost naked and free of areoles. It is thin walled, fleshy becoming dry at maturity.



Cultivation: This mountain cactus - because of the elongated fat taproot - necessitate deep pots and a well drained mineral potting mix.
Need a sufficient amount of air.

Watering Needs: They are susceptible to overwatering,  but need enough water during vegetation.
Frost Tolerance:  They tolerate light frost
-5 (-10) °C. Need to be kept in a cool place during winter rest this is important for the flowers as well as for their health. Without this cool winter period they normally wont get many buds.
Sun Exposure: Need a good amount of sun.

Propagation:  Usually propagated by cuttings and grafting . Grafted plants in culture are most common  and sprout strongly. But it is also feasible to root them but they grow much slower on their own roots and takes various years prior to they bloom.