Genus Escobaria

History of Genus   -   Description of Genus   -   Division of Genus   -   Taxonomy and Morphology

The genus Escobaria was established in 1923 by the American botanists N. L. Britton and J. N. Rose. The genus name was chosen in honor of the work of two Mexican botanists - Romulus and Numa Escobar.
Six newly described taxa were included in the newly established genus and two already known species from the genus Mammillaria were reclassified here.
The reason for the emergence of a new genus was the following characteristics. From the external features it was a small, often clumpy growth, ribs spread into nipples with numerous, but never crocheted thorns and especially a furrow, which connects the thorny part of the areola at the top of the nipple with the floral part of the areola in the nipple axilla. Small flowers with erupted outer petals, a red non-cracking fruit and brown to black oval seeds were identified as specific sexual characteristics. See the description of the genus for more details.

In 1923, along with the Escobaria genus, another small genus, the Neobessey genus, was appointed by Messrs. Britton and Rose. This genus contained four species.
The reason was a larger flower, a globular red non-cracking fruit that contains black, almost globular seed.
The relationship with the genusEscobaria has been documented by the existence of the species Escobaria dasyacantha.
Britton et Rose included in their classification thefamily Cactaceae the genera Escobaria and Neobesseya in the group (tribus) III. Cereeae, to subgroup 6. Coryphanthanae.

Alberto Vojtěch Frič describes the Fobea genus in 1925. However, this genus is soon considered synonymous with the genus Escobaria.

The newly established genus Escobaria was recognized in 1929 by Alwin Berger in his work "Kakteen" (Cacti), but only within the genus Coryphantha, which in its classification of the family Cactaceae belongs to the subfamily (subfamilia) III. Cereoideae.

In 1945, J. P. Hester merged these two genera into a new genus Escobesseya. This was done on the basis of a newly discovered taxon in 1939, which, like Escobaria dasyacantha, showed some common features of both genera.

Another taxonomic revision of cacti was conducted in 1947 by the American author Taylor Marshall. In his work, he merged the genus Escobaria with the genus Coryphantha. In his opinion, the hardening of old mothers and red fruits is not a sufficient distinguishing feature for the existence of a separate genus.

In 1951 a new characteristic of the Escobaria genus was established by Professor F. Buxbaum. He also included in this genus a very variable complex of plants from the circle of the then known Mammillaria vivipara. Professor F. Buxbaum also hypothesized a phylogenetic link between the genus Escobaria as a developmental elder and the genus Mammillaria as a developmentally derived. He also indicated that the genus Escobaria formed a transition between the genera Ferocactus and Echinophosphulocactus on the one hand and the genus Mammillaria on the other (as evidenced by the great similarity of the seeds). As the main distinguishing feature of the genus Coryphantha, it mentions the different appearance of the seeds (pitted tests and a distinct, micropolar hole close to the hil) and ciliated outer petals.

In 1961 H. Krainz published his work "Die Kakteen", in which he adhered to the division of the Escobaria genus according to F. Buxbaum. He adds that the genus Escobaria probably forms an important link, in particular its subgenus Pseudocoryphantha, which on the one hand follows the small species of the genus Ferocactus and on the other hand its branch to the genus Neobesseya and the other branch to the alpine genus Mammillopsis. Furthermore, H. Krainz does not recognize the genus Escobesseya and proves the ineligibility of Hester's distinctive features, especially as regards the character of the seeds.

In C. Backeberg's monumental work "Die Cactaceae" (Volume 5) from 1961, the concept of the genus was basically taken over from the founders of the rodu. Curt Backeberg assigned other taxa here, which were discovered between the two world wars and which were included in other genera, especially the genus Coryphantha. However, Buxbaum's inclusion of Escobaria vivipara in this genus was fundamentally rejected and he assigned them back to the genus Coryphantha, where he created a special subgenus Neocoryphantha for them. He justified this change by saying that green and watery fruits are a type of fruit of the genus Coryphantha and not Escobaria. Backeberg further states that the genus Escobaria is closely related to the genus Neobesseya. At the same time, however, it does not acknowledge the relationship of the plants of Buxbaum's subgenus Pseudocoryphantha (Escobaria vivipara) to the genus Neobesseya on the basis of petals, which according to Backeberg may be both ciliate and smooth in the genus Neobesseya. Also, the subbasal or basal position of the hilum, the structure of the seed tests, and the position of the micropylar orifice appear to Backeberg to fail to justify Buxbaum's subgenus Euescobaria or Hester's Escobessey, because, in his view, the two distinctive features are common to the plants included here.

An attempt to determine the distinctive features of the genera Coryphantha - Escobaria - Neobesseya - Neolloydia is mentioned by C. Backeberg in his work "Kakteenlexikon" published in 1965. C. Backeberg states here that the genus Escobaria differs from the genus Coryphantha by the red color of fruits and hard seeds. However, they have a common furrow on the nipple, just like with the Neobessey genus. This genus has red fruits in common with the genus Escobaria, but the seeds have a larger arilla and the flowers of this genus grow close to the crown, not in the crown as in the genus Escobaria. The fruits of the genera Escobaria and Neobesseya, unlike the genus Neolloydia, are watery. According to Backeberg, the genus Neolloydia consists of plants that also have a cylindrical body, nipples with a furrow and central flowers, which are, however, larger. The fruits are not watery, dull in color and dry when ripe.
In this work, C. Backeberg included the above-mentioned genera in the subfamily (subfamilia) III.Cereoideae, tribus II. Cereeae, semitrubus 1. Austrocereeae, subtribus 2. Boreocactinae, group 2. Mammillariae, subgroup 1. Coryphanthae.

Professor Lyman Benson from California introduced another complication into the already complex issues of the Escobaria genus. In his work "The Cacti of Arizona" (3rd edition) from 1969, he incorporated the genus Escobaria into the genus Coryphantha, without any subgenus. In addition, it assigned a number of basic types to a number of earlier genera, especially the species vivipara. Benson's view of the inclusion of the genus Escobaria in the genus Coryphantha is shared by some cactus experts (especially from the American side) to date.

In the 1960s and early 1970s, the Escobaria genus was studied by Americans D. A. and A. D. Zimmerman and a team from the University of Albuquerque, New Mexico (USA) under the leadership of E. Castetter. These cactus quantities have published several important works. However, due to American tradition, they consider the genus Escobaria only as a subgenus of the genus Coryphantha.

In 1967 and 1978, the English botanist D. R. Hunt published his key works dealing with the family Cactaceae and the genus Escobaria. In its 1967 classification, it classified this genus into: tribus 3. Cacteae, subtribus 2. Cactineae, group C.

Beginning the year 1979, P. C. Fischer began publishing a series of articles that resulted in a comprehensive study of the entire Coryphantha vivipara range, including a key to the varieties and very detailed comparison tables of data on the individual varieties. P.C. Fischer has been dealing with this issue for many years and has also defended his doctoral dissertation on the given topic. The overall study is based on long-term field observations. In conclusion P. C. Fischer agrees with Zimmerman that this complex falls more under the genus Escobaria.

The original conception of the Escobaria genus was created and in 1981 also published by V. John and J. Říha in the magazine Kaktusy. They divided this genus into six subgenes, four of which they newly established. They also included the genus Ortegocactus as one of the new subgenuses. However, because at this time N. P. Tayler is already on the scene with significantly greater opportunities to study plants, other materials and especially publicity and thus the promotion of his system, this original concept is neglected.

Since the end of the 1970s, N. P. Taylor from the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew (UK) has been systematically studying the Escobaria genus, publishing four major works during 1978 - 1986, aiming at a comprehensive systemic view of the whole genus. So far, there is no more comprehensive study of this view, evaluating escobaria in terms of natural conditions, ie by concentrating and evaluating partial information from the field.

In 1986, a new genus proposal was submitted for the family Cactaceae, in which the genus Escobaria was included in the subfamily I. Cactoideae, group II. Cacteae and to group VII. (under serial number 80). In this division the genera Cochiseia, Escobesseya and Neobesseya are assigned synonymous status, while Neobesseya is assigned the value of a subgenus or section and the species Neobesseya macdougallii (Ortegocactus) is noted that it may also be included in the genus Mammillaria (taken from: Rody čeľade Cactaceae - snaha o nové riešenie, Spravodaj Kaktusy-sukulenty VIII, č.1/87, str.19-21; this is a translation of J. Matis's article from Bradley magazine 4/1986).

Since the late 1980s, A. D. Zimmerman has been combining theoretical work with the results of field observations on the basis of which a truly comprehensive view could be developed, affecting important evolutionary contexts inside and outside the genus.

In 1990 a summary of the genus Escobaria, including the species identification key, was published as part of the Atlasu kaktusů, published by Chrudim cactus growers. The author is V. Šedivý.

Another ISO-Party proposal for the family Cactaceae was submitted in 1990 (Bradleya 8, pp.85-107, 1990). The classification of the genus Escobaria in the subfamily Cactoideae does not change. However, the division of this subfamily is changing and the genus Escobaria is therefore in group VIIb Cacteae and subgroup Cactinae. The genus Neobesseya is found in the same subgroup, but has the status of an independent genus (taken over by: Říha J., Šubík R .: Cacti and how to grow them, pp. 21-27, Nakladatelství Brázda, 2000).

In 2001, a monograph of the Cactaceae family was published, which should replace C. Bakeberg's work "Das Kakteen Lexikon". The author is Edward F. Anderson. A big change compared to earlier works is a significant reduction of genera (125) and species (1810). Nevertheless, in addition to new combinations, there are also newly formed families. From the point of view of the genus Escobaria, it is mainly the creation of a new genus Acharagma, into which the earlier species aguirreana and roseana are recombined.

The history of the genus Escobaria continues.

Translation - Google Translator.

    Description of Genus


Neobesseya Britton et Rose, 1923
Escobesseya Hester, 1923
Cochiseia W.H.Earle, 1941
Escocoryphantha Doweld, 1999

The original description (1923)

Escobaria N. L. Britton et J. N. Rose, The Cactaceae 4, p.53, 1923

The others descriptions of the genus

Escobaria N. L. Britton et J. N. Rose emend. F. Buxbaum
F.Buxbam, Die Phylogenie der nordamerikanischen Echinocacteen, Österreichische botanische Zeitschrift 88, 1951

Escobaria N. L. Britton et J. N. Rose emend. Curt Backeberg
Curt Backeberg, Die Cactaceae 5, 1961

Escobaria N. L. Britton et J. N. Rose emend. V. John et J. Riha
Václav John a Jan Říha, Rozčlenění rodu Escobaria, Kaktusy 17, 1981

Escobaria N. L. Britton et J. N. Rose
Vladislav Šedivý, Atlas kaktusů 1990 - příloha, SPKL při ZO ČZN Klubu kaktusářů Chrudim, 1990

Escobaria N. L. Britton et J. N. Rose
D.R.Hunt, N.P.Taylor, G.Charles, The New Cactus Lexicon, DH Books, p.112, 2006

The descriptions of the genera, which to the genus Escobaria were included

Genus Neobesseya

At present is the genus Neobesseya included as the section to the genus Escobaria.

The original description (1923)

Neobesseya N. L. Britton et J. N. Rose, The Cactaceae 4, 1923