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 Turbinicarpus subsp. var.  
Habit: cacti-succulent
Height: to
Width: to
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Lifespan: perennial
Exposure: sun
Water: dry
Features: flowers
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USDA Zones: to
Sunset Zones:
Flower features:
Cactaceae > Turbinicarpus var. ,

Turbinicarpus is a genus of very small to medium-sized cacti, which inhabit the north-eastern regions of Mexico, in particular the states of San Luis Potosí, Guanajuato, Nuevo León, Querétaro, Hidalgo, Coahuila, Tamaulipas and Zacatecas.

These succulent plants grow mostly on limestone soil (never on volcanic soil), at altitudes between 300 and 3300 meters above sea level.

Turbinicarpus are usually confined to specific habitats, generally hostile for the majority of plants, mostly in very drained rocky areas, composed of limestone, sandstone, schist (neutral or alkaline), or in very acidic and humiferous underwood, or in gypsum veins, sometimes so pure that is almost white.

In particular, Turbinicarpus strictu sensu are adapted to extreme niches: more than 80% of the species grow in rock cracks or among the pebbles beneath them, where enough dust accumulated to enable root development. It would seem almost impossible that plants so small could survive in such an environment, however in those species that inhabit dry and exposed areas, the root is very thick, becoming a taproot and acting like an anchor on the slopes but, more important, as a water storage for the dry periods, capable of significantly retracting into the ground so that the stem is less exposed to the sun; the spines are often changed to adopt a very papery structure, capable of absorbing good quantities of water. Furthermore, the general look is extremely mimetic, thanks to the epidermis colour and the interlacing spines, guaranteeing a certain protection from eventual herbivores.



Pests and diseases


Genus Turbinicarpus

Subgenus Turbinicarpus

Serie Gracilis
Serie Lophophoroides
Serie Macrochele
  • Turbinicarpus macrochele
  • Turbinicarpus macrochele subsp. frailensis
  • Turbinicarpus macrochele subsp. polaskii
  • Turbinicarpus macrochele subsp. valteri
Serie Turbinicarpus
  • Turbinicarpus klinkerianus
  • Turbinicarpus klinkerianus subsp. schwartzii
  • Turbinicarpus klinkerianus subsp. hiemalis
  • Turbinicarpus klinkerianus subsp. planiziei
  • Turbinicarpus schmiedickeanus
  • Turbinicarpus schmiedickeanus subsp. rubriflorus
  • Turbinicarpus schmiedickeanus subsp. andersonii
Serie Valdeziani
Serie Gymnocactus
Serie Viereckii
natural hybrids
  • Turbinicarpus × mombergeri (pseudopectinatus × laui)

Subgenus Kadenicarpus

Section Bravocactus
Section Kadenicarpus

Genus Rapicactus

Subgenus Rapicactus

Subgenus Lodia


The following genera haven been brought into synonymy with Turbinicarpus:



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