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Genus: Epithelantha [ Cactaceae ]

Dictionary of Genus names

Epithelantha micromeris
Epithelantha micromeris

The genus name "Epithelantha" derives from the Greek word “Epi (επι)” meaning “upon, on, at, over”;  the Greek word “thele” meaning “nipple”  referring to the tubercles, and “anthos (ανϑος) meaning “flower” describing flower position near tubercle apex.

(The
genus
name implies: “flowers upon the tubercles”).
 

For example: Epithelantha micromeris
 

The Epithelanthas are slow growing, dwarf cacti covered with minute clusters of white spines that completely wrap the surface of the plant. Stem usually globular with a depressed centre that plant resemble a little like a large white button or a miniature golf balls. Spines are so tightly adpressed to the epidermis of the plant as to render it completely invisible. In a few of the forms some of the spines stick out at an a great enough angle from the plant body to make it seem a little bristly, but in most the spines don’t resemble spines at all, just a barely roughened white coating. They are natives of the western U.S. and Mexico and are found growing in shallow soil on rocky hillsides among blocks and plates of pure white limestone, barely peeking out from under the flattened rocks, and, as a result, can be quite difficult to find. Epithelanthas also mimic the dried deer dung that shows up in even the driest desert regions, a resemblance which has perhaps an important survival value.

 

 

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