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Strombocactus


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Strombocactus is a monotypic genus in the Cactus family (Cactaceae) containing the single species Strombocactus disciformis. The plant originates from central and northeast Mexico. The genus name comes from the Greek "strombos", meaning "fir cone, spinning top" and refers to the shape of the plant.

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Strombocactus - garden

Origin and Habitat: Mexico (Quetaro, Hidalgo and Guanajuato), extent of occurrence approximately 4,500 km2. It occurs in 19 known localities, and is experiencing a decline in mature individuals due to illegal overcollection.
Habitat: Strombocactus disciformis is reported in matorral on steep, limestone cliffs and slopes, mudrock (lutita) alluvial cliffs along stream beds or nearly vertical canyon walls. Illegal collection for the ornamental plant trade is an increasing threat. This cactus is found in the Mexican trade of ornamental plants.

  • Strombocactus disciformis (DC.) Britton & Rose
    • Anhalonium turbiniforme (Pfeiff.) F.A.C.Weber in Bois
    • Ariocarpus disciformis (DC.) W.T.Marshall
    • Cactus disciformis Kuntze
    • Cactus turbinatus Kuntze
    • Echinocactus disciformis (DC.) K.Schum. in Engl. & Prantl
    • Echinocactus turbiniformis Pfeiff.
    • Echinofossulocactus turbiniformis Lawr. in Loudon
    • Mammillaria disciformis DC.
    • Mammillaria turbinata Hook. in Curtis
    • Pediocactus disciformis (DC.) Halda
    • Strombocactus turbiniformis (Pfeiff.) Frič

Accepted name in llifle Database:
Strombocactus disciformis (DC.) Britton & Rose
Cactaceae (Britton & Rose) 3: 106. 1922 [12 Oct 1922]
Synonymy: 14

  • Strombocactus disciformis (DC.) Britton & Rose
    • Anhalonium turbiniforme (Pfeiff.) F.A.C.Weber in Bois
    • Ariocarpus disciformis (DC.) W.T.Marshall
    • Cactus disciformis Kuntze
    • Cactus turbinatus Kuntze
    • Echinocactus disciformis (DC.) K.Schum. in Engl. & Prantl
    • Echinocactus turbiniformis Pfeiff.
    • Echinofossulocactus turbiniformis Lawr. in Loudon
    • Mammillaria disciformis DC.
    • Mammillaria turbinata Hook. in Curtis
    • Pediocactus disciformis (DC.) Halda
    • Strombocactus turbiniformis (Pfeiff.) Frič
  • Strombocactus disciformis var. seidelii (Frič) K.Crkal
    • Strombocactus turbiniformis var. seidelii Frič
Accepted name in llifle Database:
Strombocactus disciformis f. cristatus hort.

Accepted name in llifle Database:
Strombocactus disciformis subs. esperanzae Glass & S.Arias
Brit. Cact. Succ. J. 14(4): 202 (1996)
Synonymy: 5

  • Strombocactus disciformis subs. esperanzae Glass & S.Arias
    • Ariocarpus pulcherrimus (Halda) Halda
    • Pediocactus pulcherrimus (Halda) Halda
    • Strombocactus disciformis var. esperanzae (Glass & S.Arias) Don Pedro & Říha
    • Strombocactus pulcherrimus Halda
Accepted name in llifle Database:
Strombocactus disciformis subs. jarmilae (Halda) Halda
Acta Mus. Richnov., Sect. Nat. 4(2): 71 (1997)
Synonymy: 5
  • Strombocactus disciformis subs. jarmilae (Halda) Halda
    • Ariocarpus disciformis subs. jarmilae (Halda) Halda
    • Pediocactus jarmilae (Halda) Halda
    • Strombocactus disciformis f. minimus Don Pedro & Říha
    • Strombocactus jarmilae Halda
Accepted name in llifle Database:
Strombocactus disciformis f. polytomicous hort.

Description: Strombocactus disciformis is a rare geophytes, usually solitary. Two subspecies are recognized, the nominate form and subsp. esperanzae Glass & S. Arias.
Stem: The body is flattened or spherical, 3 to 8 cm high, reaching 20 cm in age, and 3 to 9 cm across. The crown is slightly depressed and felted. The colour is blue-green with greyish tinge, the base covered with brown corky spots in age. It is composed of hard, spirally arranged rhomboid and imbricate tubercles, 1 to 1.8 cm high. These tubercules are flattened and almost truncated above and somewhat horny or keeled below.
Spines: 4 to 5, erect and dark grey at the tips and pale grey at the base, 1.2 to 2 cm long, they become calcified, they are caducous and in age fall at the stem base.
Roots: Strong napiform (turnip-like).
Flower: Arise on the crown, measure about 3.5 cm in length and breadth, are shiny cream coloured with occasional spots at the tip and in the throat, The filaments are white or reddish, the anthers yellow. The 8 to 10 lobed stigma are white or yellowish.
Fruit: 7 mm across, splits down its length.
Seeds: Very small.
Blossoming time: Flowers emerge early in spring and are freely produced throughout the summer, remaining open for several days.

Subspecies, varieties, forms and cultivars of plants belonging to the Strombocactus disciformis group

  • Strombocactus disciformis" href='/Encyclopedia/CACTI/Family/Cactaceae/2103/Strombocactus_disciformis'> Strombocactus disciformis (DC.) Britton & Rose : the stem is flattened or spherical, blue-green with greyish tinge 3 to 8 cm high and 3 to 9 cm across. It is composed of hard, spirally arranged rhomboid tubercles that are flattened and almost truncated above.
  • Strombocactus disciformis f. cristatus" href='/Encyclopedia/CACTI/Family/Cactaceae/12848/Strombocactus_disciformis_f._cristatus'> Strombocactus disciformis f. cristatus hort. : Crested form.
  • Strombocactus disciformis subs. esperanzae" href='/Encyclopedia/CACTI/Family/Cactaceae/12841/Strombocactus_disciformis_subs._esperanzae'> Strombocactus disciformis subs. esperanzae Glass & S.Arias : (= S. pulcherrimus) is very similar to S. disciformis the only noticeable difference is the colour of the flowers that are bright magenta.
  • Strombocactus disciformis subs. jarmilae" href='/Encyclopedia/CACTI/Family/Cactaceae/2110/Strombocactus_disciformis_subs._jarmilae'> Strombocactus disciformis subs. jarmilae (Halda) Halda : like S. disciformis but with a smaller body, small flowers, long thin spines and some other minor differences. Distribution: Northern Mexico (Querétaro and Nuevo León)
  • Strombocactus disciformis f. polytomicous" href='/Encyclopedia/CACTI/Family/Cactaceae/12850/Strombocactus_disciformis_f._polytomicous'> Strombocactus disciformis f. polytomicous hort. : Polytomy is a form of cristation, an apex divided in a lot of smaller apexes. It is very unusual to see such a Strombocactus.
  • Strombocactus disciformis cv. Cactus Art" href='/Encyclopedia/CACTI/Family/Cactaceae/12849/Strombocactus_disciformis_cv._Cactus_Art'> Strombocactus disciformis cv. Cactus Art : odd monstrous plant forming crowded clumps or mounds, and most plants will crest readily. Areoles felt-like in relief 2-4 mm broad, greenish at the stems apex when young. Spines mumerous very short bristle-like.
  • Strombocactus disciformis cv. Cespitosa" href='/Encyclopedia/CACTI/Family/Cactaceae/18547/Strombocactus_disciformis_cv._Cespitosa'> Strombocactus disciformis cv. Cespitosa : This is a strange plant that forms lots of axillary shoots in a continuous series on almost each node starting from the base of the stem, while the typical Strombocactus disciformis is usually solitary.

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) Urs Eggli, Leonard E. Newton: “Etymological Dictionary of Succulent Plant Names” Springer, Berlin/Heidelberg 2010
6) Gómez-Hinostrosa, C., Sánchez , E., Guadalupe Martínez, J. & Bárcenas Luna, R. 2013. "Strombocactus disciformis." The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. . Downloaded on 14 December 2014.


Strombocactus disciformis Photo by: Cactus Art
Blooming habit. Mexico. Photo by: Agócs György
Strombocactus disciformis Photo by: Cactus Art

Strombocactus - garden

Origin and Habitat: Garden origin (Nursery produced cultivar) Crrested plants are also foun in habitat even though with a very low frequence.

Accepted name in llifle Database:
Strombocactus disciformis (DC.) Britton & Rose
Cactaceae (Britton & Rose) 3: 106. 1922 [12 Oct 1922]
Synonymy: 14

  • Strombocactus disciformis (DC.) Britton & Rose
    • Anhalonium turbiniforme (Pfeiff.) F.A.C.Weber in Bois
    • Ariocarpus disciformis (DC.) W.T.Marshall
    • Cactus disciformis Kuntze
    • Cactus turbinatus Kuntze
    • Echinocactus disciformis (DC.) K.Schum. in Engl. & Prantl
    • Echinocactus turbiniformis Pfeiff.
    • Echinofossulocactus turbiniformis Lawr. in Loudon
    • Mammillaria disciformis DC.
    • Mammillaria turbinata Hook. in Curtis
    • Pediocactus disciformis (DC.) Halda
    • Strombocactus turbiniformis (Pfeiff.) Frič
  • Strombocactus disciformis var. seidelii (Frič) K.Crkal
    • Strombocactus turbiniformis var. seidelii Frič
Accepted name in llifle Database:
Strombocactus disciformis subs. esperanzae Glass & S.Arias
Brit. Cact. Succ. J. 14(4): 202 (1996)
Synonymy: 5
  • Strombocactus disciformis subs. esperanzae Glass & S.Arias
    • Ariocarpus pulcherrimus (Halda) Halda
    • Pediocactus pulcherrimus (Halda) Halda
    • Strombocactus disciformis var. esperanzae (Glass & S.Arias) Don Pedro & Říha
    • Strombocactus pulcherrimus Halda
Accepted name in llifle Database:
Strombocactus disciformis subs. jarmilae (Halda) Halda
Acta Mus. Richnov., Sect. Nat. 4(2): 71 (1997)
Synonymy: 5
  • Strombocactus disciformis subs. jarmilae (Halda) Halda
    • Ariocarpus disciformis subs. jarmilae (Halda) Halda
    • Pediocactus jarmilae (Halda) Halda
    • Strombocactus disciformis f. minimus Don Pedro & Říha
    • Strombocactus jarmilae Halda
Accepted name in llifle Database:
Strombocactus disciformis f. polytomicous hort.

Description: This is the rare beautiful crested form of Strombocactus disciformis. The standard species is usually a singled stemmed small geophytes cactus.
Stem: Fan-shaped forming brain-like mounds with time crown is slightly depressed and felted. The colour is blue-green with greyish tinge, the base covered with brown corky spots in age. It is composed of hard, imbricate tubercles, 1 to 1,8 cm high. These tubercules are flattened and almost truncated above and somewhat horny or keeled below.
Spines: 4 to 5, erect and dark grey at the tips and pale grey at the base, 1.2 to 2 cm long, they become calcified, they are caducous and in age fall at the stem base.
Roots: Strong napiform (turnip-like).
Flower: Arise on the crown, measure about 3.5 cm in length and breadth, are shiny cream coloured with occasional spots at the tip and in the throat, The filaments are white or reddish, the anthers yellow. The 8 to 10 lobed stigma are white or yellowish.
Fruit: 7 mm across, splits down its length.
Seeds:Very small.
Blossoming time: flowers emerge early in spring and are freely produced throughout the summer, remaining open for several days.

Subspecies, varieties, forms and cultivars of plants belonging to the Strombocactus disciformis group

  • Strombocactus disciformis" href='/Encyclopedia/CACTI/Family/Cactaceae/2103/Strombocactus_disciformis'> Strombocactus disciformis (DC.) Britton & Rose : the stem is flattened or spherical, blue-green with greyish tinge 3 to 8 cm high and 3 to 9 cm across. It is composed of hard, spirally arranged rhomboid tubercles that are flattened and almost truncated above.
  • Strombocactus disciformis f. cristatus" href='/Encyclopedia/CACTI/Family/Cactaceae/12848/Strombocactus_disciformis_f._cristatus'> Strombocactus disciformis f. cristatus hort. : Crested form.
  • Strombocactus disciformis subs. esperanzae" href='/Encyclopedia/CACTI/Family/Cactaceae/12841/Strombocactus_disciformis_subs._esperanzae'> Strombocactus disciformis subs. esperanzae Glass & S.Arias : (= S. pulcherrimus) is very similar to S. disciformis the only noticeable difference is the colour of the flowers that are bright magenta.
  • Strombocactus disciformis subs. jarmilae" href='/Encyclopedia/CACTI/Family/Cactaceae/2110/Strombocactus_disciformis_subs._jarmilae'> Strombocactus disciformis subs. jarmilae (Halda) Halda : like S. disciformis but with a smaller body, small flowers, long thin spines and some other minor differences. Distribution: Northern Mexico (Querétaro and Nuevo León)
  • Strombocactus disciformis f. polytomicous" href='/Encyclopedia/CACTI/Family/Cactaceae/12850/Strombocactus_disciformis_f._polytomicous'> Strombocactus disciformis f. polytomicous hort. : Polytomy is a form of cristation, an apex divided in a lot of smaller apexes. It is very unusual to see such a Strombocactus.
  • Strombocactus disciformis cv. Cactus Art" href='/Encyclopedia/CACTI/Family/Cactaceae/12849/Strombocactus_disciformis_cv._Cactus_Art'> Strombocactus disciformis cv. Cactus Art : odd monstrous plant forming crowded clumps or mounds, and most plants will crest readily. Areoles felt-like in relief 2-4 mm broad, greenish at the stems apex when young. Spines mumerous very short bristle-like.
  • Strombocactus disciformis cv. Cespitosa" href='/Encyclopedia/CACTI/Family/Cactaceae/18547/Strombocactus_disciformis_cv._Cespitosa'> Strombocactus disciformis cv. Cespitosa : This is a strange plant that forms lots of axillary shoots in a continuous series on almost each node starting from the base of the stem, while the typical Strombocactus disciformis is usually solitary.

Notes: The cause of cresting is not fully explained. Biologists disagree as to why some plants grow in this unusual form. Some speculate that it is a genetic mutation. Others say it is the result of a strike of lightning or freeze damage, but whatever the stimulus, the growth point of the stem has switched from a geometric point, to a line, which folds and undulates as the crest expands. Though these crested Strombocactus are very rare, cresting occurs naturally, and can be encountered in many other cactus species.


Strombocactus disciformis f. cristatus Photo by: Valentino Vallicelli
Strombocactus disciformis f. cristatus Photo by: Valentino Vallicelli
Strombocactus disciformis f. cristatus Photo by: Cactus Art

Seed development, germination and seedling establishment were compared between Strombocactus species, S. corregidorae, S. disciformis ssp. disciformis and S. disciformis ssp. esperanzae, emphasizing the origin and role of the seed appendage, which is present only in both S. disciformis subspecies. The development and morpho-anatomy of both seeds and seedlings were evaluated using standard light microscopy and scanning electron microscopy. Embryo and seed development proceeded similarly in all three taxa. However, we unequivocally demonstrate the funicular origin and aerenchymatic structure of the seed appendage, the aril in S. disciformis ssp. disciformis and S. disciformis ssp. esperanzae, which differentiates soon after fertilization. Other distinguishing features include the delayed growth of the testa in the micropyle in S. corregidorae, and testa micromorphology in mature seeds. Seed potential and production were similar between species, although seed efficiency was higher in both subspecies of S. disciformis, which may reflect pollination problems in S. corregidorae natural populations. Seed flotation occurs in the three taxa, due to the presence of air spaces in the lumen of the seed coat cells and the aril aerenchymatic, when present. Neither physiological nor structural dormancy were detected in Strombocactus, and a high percentage of seeds germinated in the different taxa, as no scarification or disinfection treatments were necessary. The absence of the aril in S. corregidorae shows that further genetic, phylogenetic and comparative ontogenic studies that include the three taxa of Strombocactus and the nearest genera, such as Ariocarpus, Turbinicarpus and Epithelantha, are required in order to determine if this structure was gained or lost during evolution of Strombocactus. This research provides a greater understanding of the reproductive biology of this endangered genus endemic to Mexico, necessary for the establishment of future restoration and conservation programs.

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