Autor: Britton & Rose

Genus coming from the province of Copiapo, Chile, where the first species were described from.
A genus of globose to elongated plants, very variable in size, dwarf to huge, solitary to densely branched, consisting of hundreds of stems, sometimes with a waxy epidermis, the apex often densely covered with wool. Spines variable.
Flowers diurnal, self sterile, short, funnel-shaped to bell-shaped, usually light yellow, sometimes tinged with red, pollinated by hymenoptera (Alloscirtetica lanosa, Centris nigerrima, Caenohalictus pupurмsus, Spino/iella herbsti), also by beetles (Buprestidae, like Atacamita chilensis, Ectinogonia darwinii). Fruits globose to turbinate, apically dehiscent. Seeds shiny, reddish brown to black, scattered by ants.
The genus Copiapoa grows endemically in small and sometimes large, more or less scattered colonies, in the Atacama desert along the Pacific coast, only in Chile, from sea level up to approximately 1500 m in altitude, in extremely arid zones, but which benefit the condensation provided by the characteristic coastal fog of Chile (camanchaca) and some moisture at night. We find the different species generally in full sun, on plains, on alluvial soils rich in coarse sand, on rocky hills among rocks and in crevices. The substrate is purely mineral. Copiapoa is sometimes accompanied with other cacti like Eulychnia, Neoporteria etc.
Only northern Chile (Antofagasta, Atacama, Coquimbo).

Currently 30 species to debate (+ at least 8 subspecies):
– Copiapoa ahremephiana Taylor & Charles 2002
– Copiapoa angustiflora H.E.Walter, G.Charles & W.Maechler 2006
– Copiapoa atacamensis Middleditch 1980
– Copiapoa bridgesii* (Pfeiff.) Backeb. 1959
– Copiapoa calderana F. Ritter 1959
– Copiapoa cinerascens* (Salm-Dyck) Britton & Rose 1922
– Copiapoa cinerea* (Phil.) Britton & Rose 1922
– Copiapoa cinerea subsp. columna-alba (F.Ritter) Hunt 2002
– Copiapoa cinerea subsp. haseltoniana (Backeb.) N.P.Taylor 1997
– Copiapoa coquimbana* (Karw. ex Rumpler) Britton & Rose 1922
– Copiapoa dealbata F.Ritter 1959
– Copiapoa decorticans N.P.Taylor & G.J.Charles 2002
– Copiapoa echinoides* (Salm-Dyck) Britton & Rose 1922
– Copiapoa eremophila F.Ritter 1980
– Copiapoa esmeraldana F.Ritter 1980
– Copiapoa fiedleriana (K.Schum.) Backeb. 1935
– Copiapoa grandiflora F.Ritter 1963
– Copiapoa humilis* (Phil.) Hutchison 1953
– Copiapoa humilis subsp . australis P.Hoxey 2004
– Copiapoa humilis subsp. tenuissima (Ritter) D.Hunt 2002
– Copiapoa humilis subsp. tocopillana (Ritter) D.Hunt 2002
– Copiapoa humilis subsp . varispinata (Ritter) D.Hunt 2002
– Copiapoa hypogaea* F.Ritter 1980
– Copiapoa krainziana F.Ritter 1963
– Copiapoa laui* Diers & Esteves 1980
– Copiapoa leonensis Schaub & R.Keim 2006
– Copiapoa longistaminea F.Ritter 1963
– Copiapoa marginata* (Salm-Dyck) Britton & Rose 1922
– Copiapoa megarhiza Britton & Rose 1922
– Copiapoa megarhiza subsp. echinata (Ritter) Charles 2006
– Copiapoa melanohystrix F.Ritter 1980
– Copiapoa mollicula F.Ritter 1963
– Copiapoa montana F.Ritter i9 6 0
– Copiapoa serpentisulcata F.Ritter 196
– Copiapoa solaris* (F.Ritter) F.Ritter 1980
– Copiapoa taltalensis Werderm. 1929 (= Copiapoa rupestris, C. rubriflora)
– Copiapoa taltalensis subsp. desertorum (F.Ritter) Charles 2005
– Copiapoa vallenarensis F.Ritter 1980

References: "TAXONOMY of the CACTACEAE" -  ISBN 978-84-617-3723-9 (Vol. 1)


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