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  Copiapoa esmeraldana
(Syn: Copiapoa humilis)
 
CACTUSPEDIA       

 


Copiapoa esmeraldana II Region, Parque Nacional Pan de Azúcar, Las Lomitas, Chile, 845 m
These superb cacti only grow on the coastal areas of the Atacama desert in Northern Chile.

 

Description : Moderately prolific, eventually forming large clumps.
Stem: Green, soft, succulent, 3,5-7cm, apex depressed with white wool, particularly at flowering time.
Ribs: 13-16, deeply crenate, tuberculate , 6-10 mm tall.
Tubercles: Rounded, chin-shaped.
Areoles: 3-4 mm in diameter, apical, slightly dislocated in the lower part of the tubercle. 8-15 mm apart.
covered with short whitish wool when young, later glabrous.
Spines: Brownish to ash-grey, straight. Yuong plants only have thin radial spines, while the centrals appear as the plants mature.
Radial spines: 6-8 acicular, 5-10 mm long.
Central spines: 3-4 subulate 1-2 cm long
Roots: Large tap-root with a thin neck.
Flowers: Yellow, campanulate, scented, about 32 mm long.  They grow from the center of the white wool at the apex.
Seeds: 1,5 mm wide, black.
Remarks: The identification of the true 'esmeraldana' may concern a degree of uncertainty as to what this plant is. There is no doubt that it grows in the Guanillos valley near Esmeralda, together with some other Copiapoa species, but it is far from clear that it is Ritter's Copiapoa esmeraldana, although specimens have been cultivated under that name for some time. It is likely that the majority of the plants that have been called C. esmeraldana in the Guanillos Valley were probably small plants of C. grandiflora.

 

 

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Family: Cactaceae (Cactus Family)

Scientific name:  Copiapoa esmeraldana RITTER
Original Description: KaKteen in Südamerica. 3: 1064-1065, fig 978, 1980
[Typus (T). Ritter 1457 (U, ZSS [seeds only]) (Type cited for U l.c. 1: iii, 1979.).


Origin:  Atacama desert in Northern Chile, Depart. Taltal (C. esmeraldana grows along the cliff's edge, overlooking the Pacific Ocean from Guanillos Valley on the west, to Cifuncho and the Cachina Valley with Esmeralda to the north, high on the hills at Las Lomitas)

Habitat:  Steep coast in granitic hills, a few km. from the sea, growing along with C. laui, C, grandiflora and C. longistaminea.

Conservation status: Listed in CITES appendix 2.

Synonyms:  

  • Copiapoa grandiflora ssp. ritteri Doweld 2002
  • Copiapoa humilis (Phil.) Hutchison
  • Copiapoa humilis  var. esmeraldiana (F.Ritter) A. E. Hoffmann
    In : Cactaceas en la flora silvestre de Chile: 108, 1989
 


Cultivation: Slow growing, it needs full sun but should be protected from excessive heat and sun in summer. Requires light watering and good drainage. Keep warm and dry in winter to avoid rot.  It needs mild heat in winter.  Avoid any frost.
Propagation: Seeds  or or stems planted as cuttings. Grafting is often used to speed growth rate and to create a back-up to plants in collection.
 

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):

Photo gallery: Alphabetical listing of Cactus and Succulent pictures published in this site.

Photo gallery COPIAOA



 

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This old page has been moved! Click the link next on the right to enter the new Enciclopedia of Cacti. We hope you find this new site informative and useful.

The Encyclopedia of Cacti