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Escobaria sneedii

Escobaria sneedii (*)

Classification System: APG IV

Superregnum: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Cladus: Angiosperms
Cladus: Eudicots
Cladus: Core eudicots
Ordo: Caryophyllales

Familia: Cactaceae
Subfamilia: Cactoideae
Tribus: Cacteae
Genus: Escobaria
Sectio: E. sect. Escobaria
Species: Escobaria sneedii
Subspecies: E. s. subsp. orcuttii – E. s. subsp. sneedii

Escobaria sneedii Britton & Rose, 1923

The epithet of the species honors J. R. Sneed, the discoverer of the species.

Coryphantha albicolumnaria (Hester) Zimmerman
Coryphantha sneedii (Britton & Rose) A.Berger
Coryphantha sneedii var. albicolumnaria (Hester) A.D.Zimmerman
Coryphantha sneedii var. guadalupensis (S.Brack & K.D.Heil) A.D.Zimmerman
Escobaria albicolumnaria Hester
Escobaria guadalupensis S.Brack & K.D.Heil
Escobaria sandbergii Castetter, P.Pierce & K.H Schwer.
Escobaria sneedii subsp. albicolumnaria (Hester) Lüthy
Escobaria sneedii subsp. sandbergii (Castetter, P.Pierce & K.H Schwer.) Lüthy
Escobaria sneedii subsp. villardii (Castetter, P.Pierce & K.H Schwer.) Lüthy
Escobaria villardii Castetter, P.Pierce & K.H Schwer.
Mammillaria sneedii (Britton & Rose) Cory

Native distribution areas:

Continental: Northern America
Regional: Mexico
Mexico Northeast
Regional: Central USA
New Mexico, Texas

References: Brummitt, R.K. 2001. TDWG – World Geographical Scheme for Recording Plant Distributions, 2nd Edition
Primary references

Britton, N.L. & Rose, J.N. 1923. The Cactaceae. Descriptions and Illustrations of Plants of the Cactus Family. Vol. 4. 318 pp. + 37 pl. Carnegie Institution of Washington. BHL PDF Reference page. : 56, fig. 54

Additional references

Villaseñor, J.L. 2016. Checklist of the native vascular plants of Mexico. Revista Mexicana de Biodiversidad 87: 559–902. DOI: 10.1016/j.rmb.2016.06.017 Online PDF Reference page. 
Flora of North America Editorial Committee (2003). Flora of North America North of Mexico 4: 1-559. Oxford University Press, New York, Oxford.
Govaerts, R.H.A. 2001. World Checklist of Seed Plants Database in ACCESS E-F: 1-50919. [unavailable to the public] Reference page. 
Korotkova, N., Aquino, D., Arias, S., Eggli, U., Franck, A. , Gómez-Hinostrosa, C., Guerrero, P.C., Hernández, H.M., Kohlbecker, A., Köhler, M., Luther, K., Majure, L.C., Müller, A., Metzing, D., Nyffeler, R., Sánchez, D., Schlumpberger, B. & Berendsohn, W.G. 2021. Cactaceae at Caryophyllales. org–a dynamic online species-level taxonomic backbone for the family. Willdenowia 51(2): 251–270. DOI: 10.3372/wi.51.51208 Open access Reference page. 


Korotkova, N. et al. 2021. Escobaria sneedii in Cactaceae at A global synthesis of species diversity in the angiosperm order Caryophyllales. Published online. Accessed: 2021 Nov 14. Reference page. 
Govaerts, R. et al. 2021. Escobaria sneedii in Kew Science Plants of the World Online. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published online. Accessed: 2021 Mar 14. Reference page. 
International Plant Names Index. 2021. Escobaria sneedii. Published online. Accessed: Mar 14 2021. 2021. Escobaria sneedii. Missouri Botanical Garden. Published online. Accessed: 14 Mar 2021.
Hassler, M. 2021. Escobaria sneedii. World Plants: Synonymic Checklists of the Vascular Plants of the World In: Roskovh, Y., Abucay, L., Orrell, T., Nicolson, D., Bailly, N., Kirk, P., Bourgoin, T., DeWalt, R.E., Decock, W., De Wever, A., Nieukerken, E. van, Zarucchi, J. & Penev, L., eds. 2021. Species 2000 & ITIS Catalogue of Life. Published online. Accessed: 2021 Mar 14. Reference page. 
USDA, ARS, Germplasm Resources Information Network. Escobaria sneedii in the Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN), U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service. Accessed: 09-Oct-10.

Vernacular names
English: Sneed's Pincushion, carpet foxtail cactus
svenska: Gyttrad escobaria

Escobaria sneedii (syn. Coryphantha sneedii) is a rare species of cactus known by the common names Sneed's pincushion cactus and carpet foxtail cactus. It is native to the Chihuahuan Desert, where it occurs in scattered locations in New Mexico, Texas, and Chihuahua.[2] Some plants occurring in Arizona may be included within this species.[3] Botanical authors do not necessarily agree on the circumscription of this species.[4] Most will agree at this point in the research, however, that there are two varieties of Escobaria sneedii, and that both are rare and endangered.[4] The plant is popular with cactus enthusiasts and dealers because of its often petite size and tolerance for moderately cold climates.[4] They have been overharvested from their natural habitat, the main reason why the two varieties, var. sneedii and var. leei, have been federally listed as endangered and threatened, respectively.[5][6]

This is a small cactus growing up to about 27 centimeters tall, but sometimes revealing just a few centimeters above ground level, the rest of the stem buried. The species may branch profusely, even when small and immature. It is coated densely in patches of bright white spines; each patch may have nearly 100. Depending on the substrate, the spines may be tinted with yellow, pink, purple, or brown. They may have dark tips and as the cactus ages the spines darken to gray and even black.[3] The shape of the spines separates the varieties: var. sneedii has straight spines that spread from the areole and var. leei has curved spines.[4] The cactus blooms in spring, bearing flowers 1 to 3 centimeters long near the top of its body. The flower is variable in color. It can be bright to pale pink, white to off-white, greenish, or brownish in color. Each tepal may have a darker midstripe of most any color. The fruit is generally either red or green, usually tinged with other colors, and may be up to 2 centimeters long.

This cactus, particularly var. sneedii was heavily collected for the cactus trade starting in the 1920s when it was discovered.[5] The var. leei also faced this threat.[6] There was no need for this poaching, because the plant is easily propagated in the garden.[2] Most authors believe that var. leei is a New Mexico endemic that only grows in Carlsbad Caverns National Park, and any E. sneedii outside the park are var. sneedii.[7] Threats to the species outside the national park include habitat loss. One example is the loss of a population of var. sneedii that occurred when a road was built connecting Las Cruces, New Mexico, and El Paso, Texas.[5]

A cactus described in the 1980s, Escobaria guadalupensis, is sometimes included within this species.[3][4] If it is not, then it appears to hybridize with it at times.[4]

"Appendices | CITES". Retrieved 2022-01-14.
Escobaria sneedii. The Nature Conservancy.
Coryphantha sneedii. Flora of North America.
Baker, M. A. (2007). Further elucidation of the taxonomic relationships and geographic distribution of Escobaria sneedii var. sneedii, E. sneedii var. leei, and E. guadalupensis (Cactaceae). In: Barlow-Irick, P., et al, tech eds. Southwestern rare and endangered plants: Proceedings of the Fourth Conference; March 22–26, 2004; Las Cruces, New Mexico. Proceedings. USFS.
USFWS. Determination that Coryphantha sneedii var. sneedii is an endangered species. Federal Register November 7, 1979.
USFWS. Determination that Coryphantha sneedii var. leei is a threatened species. Federal Register October 25, 1979.
US NPS. Cacti/Desert Succulents. Carlsbad Caverns National Park.

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