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Escobaria vivipara

Escobaria vivipara (*)

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
Species: Escobaria vivipara

Escobaria vivipara (Nutt.) Buxb., Oesterr. Bot. Z. 98: 78. 1951.


Cactus neomexicanus (Engelm.) Small
Cactus radiosus J.M.Coult.
Cactus radiosus var. arizonicus (Engelm.) J.M.Coult.
Cactus radiosus var. deserti (Engelm.) J.M.Coult.
Cactus radiosus var. neomexicanus (Engelm.) J.M.Coult.
Cactus viviparus Nutt.
Coryphantha aggregata Britton & Rose
Coryphantha alversonii (J.M.Coult.) Orcutt
Coryphantha alversonii var. exaltissima E.F.Wiegand & Backeb.
Coryphantha arizonica (Engelm.) Britton & Rose
Coryphantha bisbeeana Orcutt
Coryphantha chlorantha var. deserti (Engelm.) Backeb.
Coryphantha columnaris Lahman
Coryphantha deserti (Engelm.) Britton & Rose
Coryphantha fragrans Hester
Coryphantha neomexicana (Engelm.) Britton & Rose
Coryphantha neovivipara (Viv.) Y.Itô
Coryphantha neovivipara var. aggregata (Britton & Rose) Y.Itô
Coryphantha neovivipara var. arizonica (Engelm.) Y.Itô
Coryphantha neovivipara var. neomexicana (Engelm.) Y.Itô
Coryphantha neovivipara var. radiosa (Engelm.) Y.Itô
Coryphantha oklahomensis Lahman
Coryphantha radiosa (Engelm.) Rydb.
Coryphantha rosea Clokey
Coryphantha vivipara (Nutt.) Britton & Rose
Coryphantha vivipara var. aggregata (Britton & Rose) W.T.Marshall
Coryphantha vivipara var. arizonica (Engelm.) W.T.Marshall
Coryphantha vivipara var. bisbeeana (Orcutt) L.D.Benson
Coryphantha vivipara var. buoflama P.C.Fisch.
Coryphantha vivipara var. deserti (Engelm.) W.T.Marshall
Coryphantha vivipara var. kaibabensis P.C.Fisch.
Coryphantha vivipara var. neomexicana (Engelm.) Backeb.
Coryphantha vivipara var. radiosa (Engelm.) Backeb.
Coryphantha vivipara var. rosea (Clokey) L.D.Benson
Coryphantha vivipara f. sonorensis P.C.Fisch.
Echinocactus radiosus Poselg.
Echinocactus viviparus (Nutt.) Poselg.
Escobaria aggregata (Britton & Rose) Buxb.
Escobaria arizonica (Engelm.) Buxb.
Escobaria bisbeeana (Orcutt) Borg
Escobaria deserti (Engelm.) Buxb.
Escobaria neomexicana (Engelm.) Buxb.
Escobaria oklahomensis (Lahman) Buxb.
Escobaria vivipara var. arizonica (Engelm.) D.R.Hunt
Escobaria vivipara var. bisbeeana (Orcutt) D.R.Hunt
Escobaria vivipara var. buoflama (P.C.Fisch.) N.P.Taylor
Escobaria vivipara var. deserti (Engelm.) D.R.Hunt
Escobaria vivipara var. kaibabensis (P.C.Fisch.) N.P.Taylor
Escobaria vivipara var. neomexicana (Engelm.) Buxb.
Escobaria vivipara var. radiosa (Engelm.) D.R.Hunt
Escobaria vivipara var. rosea (Clokey) D.R.Hunt
Mammillaria arizonica Engelm.
Mammillaria deserti Engelm.
Mammillaria hirschtiana F.Haage
Mammillaria neomexicana (Engelm.) A.Nelson
Mammillaria radiosa Engelm.
Mammillaria radiosa var. arizonica (Engelm.) K.Schum.
Mammillaria radiosa var. deserti (Engelm.) K.Schum.
Mammillaria radiosa var. texensis Schelle
Mammillaria radiosa var. vivipara (Nutt.) Schelle
Mammillaria vivipara (Nutt.) Haw.
Mammillaria vivipara var. aggregata (Britton & Rose) L.D.Benson
Mammillaria vivipara var. arizonica (Engelm.) L.D.Benson
Mammillaria vivipara var. deserti (Engelm.) L.D.Benson
Mammillaria vivipara var. vera Engelm.
Neobesseya arizonica Hester
Neomammillaria radiosa (Engelm.) Rydb.

Native distribution areas:

Continental: Northern America
Alberta, Arizona, California, Colorado, Kansas, Manitoba, Mexico Northeast, Mexico Northwest, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Saskatchewan, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Wyoming

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

Buxbaum, F. (1951) Oesterreichische Botanische Zeitschrift. Gemeinnütziges Organ für Botanik 98: 78.

Additional references

Ackerfield, J. (2015). Flora of Colorado: 1-818. BRIT Press.
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 vivipara 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 vivipara 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 vivipara. Published online. Accessed: Mar 14 2021. 2021. Escobaria vivipara. Missouri Botanical Garden. Published online. Accessed: 14 Mar 2021.
Hassler, M. 2021. Escobaria vivipara. 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. 

Vernacular names
English: Beehive cactus, spinystar
svenska: Tuvklotkaktus, Tuvescobaria

Escobaria vivipara is a species of cactus known by several common names, including spinystar, viviparous foxtail cactus, pincushion cactus and ball cactus. It is native to North America, where certain varieties can be found from Mexico to Canada. Most of these varieties are limited to the Mojave and Sonoran Deserts. The species epithet "vivipara" is due to the species' viviparous reproductive habit.[2]


This is a small round cactus growing to a maximum height of about 15 cm (6 in), often remaining smaller and oblong or spherical. It is densely covered in a mat of star-shaped arrays of straight white spines 1 to 2.5 cm (3⁄8 to 1 in) long. It flowers in yellow, pink, red, or purple blooms 2–5 cm (3⁄4–2 in) across.[3][4]

Varieties include:[5]

Escobaria vivipara var. arizonica (Arizona spinystar) – native to the desert southwest of the United States
Escobaria vivipara var. bisbeeana (Bisbee spinystar) – native to Arizona and New Mexico
Escobaria vivipara var. deserti (Desert spinystar) – found in the desert southwest
Escobaria vivipara var. kaibabensis (Kaibab spinystar) – mostly limited to Arizona
Escobaria vivipara var. neomexicana (New Mexico spinystar) – native to New Mexico and Texas
Escobaria vivipara var. vivipara – known as far north as Manitoba


The species has a broad range across the western interior of North America, from northern Mexico to the Canadian prairies.[6] Its distribution in the early Holocene era is known to have differed locally from its present range. From pollen core data, a portion of the prehistoric distribution of this species has been mapped; for example in the Late Wisconsin period, Escobaria vivipara occurred in the Waterman Mountains (Coconino County) of northern Arizona, (the Waterman Mountains are in SE Arizona), although the species does not occur in this location in the present time.[7]

In the US state of Minnesota, it is listed as a threatened species and is at the most easterly extent of its natural range; it is rare in the state and found in a narrow section of the western part of the state, where it is found growing in crevices and outcroppings of granite.[4] It consists of one population that in the past was recorded by Lycurgus Moyer, who found it in 1898, as "quite abundant", but because of habitat loss due to farming, its numbers have declined.[4] The remaining plants are also threatened by illegal harvesting by cactus fanciers, who plant it in rock gardens and windowsills.[4]

Notably, Escobaria vivipara is one of only four cactus species native to Canada, growing in the southern prairies of Alberta, Saskatchewan and southwestern Manitoba.[8]


"Escobaria vivipara (Nutt.) Buxb". Retrieved 2020-12-09.
"Search Tree Collections". Retrieved 2022-05-06.
Jepson Manual. 1993
Barbara Coffin; Lee Pfannmuller (1988). Minnesota's Endangered Flora and Fauna. U of Minnesota Press. p. 82. ISBN 978-0-8166-1689-3.
USDA. 2009
"Pincushion Cactus - Escobaria vivipara". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
C. Michael Hogan. 2009

"Cactus | The Canadian Encyclopedia". Retrieved 2022-04-16.


C. Michael Hogan. 2009. Elephant Tree: Bursera microphylla,, ed. N. Stromberg
Jepson Manual. 1993. Escobaria vivipara. University of California, Berkeley
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). 2009. USDA: Escobaria vivipara

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