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Accepted Scientific Name: Coryphantha elephantidens (Lem.) Lem.
Cactées 35. 1868
Origin and Habitat: Garden origin. The natural species is endemic to Mexico where it is known to occur in the states of Aguascalientes, Guerrero, Guanajuato, Hidalgo, Jalisco, México, Michoacán, Morelos, Oaxaca, Puebla, Querétaro, Veracruz and Zacatecas.
Coryphantha elephantidens (Lem.) Lem.
Cactées 35. 1868
- Coryphantha elephantidens (Lem.) Lem.
- Aulacothele elephantidens (Lem.) Monv.
- Cactus elephantidens Kuntze
- Echinocactus elephantidens Poselg.
- Mammillaria elephantidens Lem.
- Coryphantha elephantidens f. aurea hort.
- Coryphantha elephantidens var. barciae L.Bremer
- Coryphantha elephantidens subs. bumamma (Ehrenb.) Dicht & A.Lüthy
- Coryphantha bumamma (Ehrenb.) Britton & Rose
- Mammillaria bumamma Ehrenb.
- Mammillaria elephantidens var. bumamma (Ehrenb.) K.Schum.
- Mammillaria elephantidens f. bumamma (Ehrenb.) Schelle
- Coryphantha elephantidens subs. greenwoodii (Bravo) Dicht & A.Lüthy
- Coryphantha greenwoodii Bravo
- Coryphantha elephantidens var. recurvispina (de Vriese) hort., nov. comb. ined.
- Cactus recurvispinus (de Vriese) Kuntze
- Coryphantha recurvispina (de Vriese) L.Bremer
- Mammillaria recurvispina de Vriese
- Coryphantha elephantidens var. roseiflora Y.Itô
- Coryphantha elephantidens subs. sulcolanata (Lem.) hort., nov. comb. ined.
- Aulacothele sulcolanata (Lem.) Monv.
- Cactus sulcolanatus Kuntze
- Coryphantha sulcolanata Lem.
- Echinocactus sulcolanatus Poselg.
- Mammillaria sulcolanata Lem.
- Coryphantha elephantidens f. variegata hort.
- Coryphantha garessii L.Bremer
- Coryphantha elephantidens cv. Tanshi Zougemaru
- Coryphantha elephantidens cv. Tanshi Zougemaru inermis
Description: The typical Coryphantha elephantidens is a a large, depressed-globular cactus up 18 cm in diameter, very large tubercles 20-30 (60) mm wide, rounded on top, pentaedrical at the base, always broader than rounded, without glands, the tubercles axil is woolly. The tubercles are capped with a 5-8 of stout recurved radial spines, 18-26 mm long never erect, but adpressed to the body. The sweet smelling flowers are large 6 to 7.5 cm whitish to pink-coloured.
Variegated form: Variegated Coryphantha elephantidens are cultivated for their beautiful stem that have sectors, patches or stripes with two colours, yellow and green. There are several forms of variegation. The extent and nature of the variegation can vary, and sometimes the plant will return to the green form. In others it is stable and does not change under normal conditions. Flowers are produced only on the crown of mature specimens. Variegated specimens are sometime grafted on stronger species, called the stock, that can be any number of different columnar cactus.
Subspecies, varieties, forms and cultivars of plants belonging to the Coryphantha elephantidens group
- Coryphantha elephantidens (Lem.) Lem.: Large, depressed-globular cactus, often clumping with large dark-green tubercles rounded on top, the tubercles axil is very woolly. The radial spines are stout reflexed and adpressed to the body. Flowers whitish, yellow or pink.
- Coryphantha elephantidens f. aurea hort.: Mutant lacking chlorophyll pigment. The result is a completely cream-yellow or golden-yellow plant.
- Coryphantha elephantidens var. barciae L.Bremer: It has a big tap-root. Parastichy number 8/13.
- Coryphantha elephantidens subs. bumamma (Ehrenb.) Dicht & A.Lüthy: Strongly offsetting species forming large groups up to 50 cm in diameter. Stem glaucous green. It is very similar to Coryphantha elephantidens but the flower are much smaller and nearly yellow.
- Coryphantha elephantidens subs. greenwoodii (Bravo) Dicht & A.Lüthy: Solitary or group-forming, flat-globose mostly under the ground-level, intermediate between Coriphantha elepantidens and Coriphantha pycnacantha.
- Coryphantha elephantidens var. recurvispina (de Vriese) hort., nov. comb. ined.: Solitary, depressed, about 16 cm. in diameter, tubercles few, large, glaucous, obtuse; areoles and axils naked ; spines all radial, 8 more or less incurved. ( = Coryphantha elephantidens)
- Coryphantha elephantidens var. roseiflora Y.Itô: Pink flowering form.
- Coryphantha elephantidens subs. sulcolanata (Lem.) hort., nov. comb. ined.: Very similar (if not the same plant) to Coryphantha elephantidens but the flowers are always yellow and never pink. Origin: Hidalgo.
- Coryphantha elephantidens f. variegata hort.: Variegated form. The stems have sectors, patches or stripes with two colours, yellow and green. There are several forms of variegation.
- Coryphantha elephantidens cv. Tanshi Zougemaru: Cultivar with short but strong spines and very large tubercles. Flowers pink. Origin: Japan.
- Coryphantha elephantidens cv. Tanshi Zougemaru inermis
- Coryphantha garessii L.Bremer: Probable synonym of Coryphantha elephantides. Origin: Zacatecas
Bibliography: Major references and further lectures
1) Edward Anderson “The Cactus family” Timber Press, Incorporated, 2001
2) James Cullen, Sabina G. Knees, H. Suzanne Cubey "The European Garden Flora Flowering Plants: A Manual for the Identification of Plants Cultivated in Europe, Both Out-of-Doors and Under Glass" Cambridge University Press, 11/Aug/2011
3) David R Hunt; Nigel P Taylor; Graham Charles; International Cactaceae Systematics Group. "The New Cactus Lexicon" dh books, 2006
4) Hernández, H.M., Gómez-Hinostrosa, C., Guadalupe Martínez, J., Sánchez , E., Dicht, R.F. & Lüthy, A.D. 2013. Coryphantha elephantidens. In: IUCN 2013. "IUCN Red List of Threatened Species." Version 2013.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 17 February 2014.
Cultivation and Propagation: Variegated cacti are regarded as choice and difficult in cultivation, but despite that many of them are relatively easy to grow. But be aware that they cannot tolerate prolonged exposure to direct sun light (especially during the hottest summer days), so grow them in half-shade or under filtered sun. They are sometime seen as grafted plants, but some of this colourful plants (those with some chlorophyll) are able to grow on their own roots and are priced by collectors.
Soil: Use mineral well-permeable substratum with little organic matter (peat, humus).
Watering: Water sparingly from March till October, and keep perfectly dry in winter, at temperatures from 5 to 15 degrees centigrade. (In general these plants are more tender and cannot endure freezing temperatures). In the rest period no high atmospheric humidity!!
Propagation: By seeds, grafting or cutting. Because the variegation is due to the presence of two kinds of plant tissue, propagating the plant must be by a vegetative method of propagation that preserves both types of tissue in relation to each other. A most common way way to cultivate this partially de-coloured cultivars is to graft them onto another cactus which has chlorophyll and which will provide sugar to the mutant scion. The chlorophyll containing bottom part of the graft, called the stock, can be any number of different columnar cactus species.
Remarks: Seeds from variegated parents often give raise to some variegated seedlings too.
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