Autor: Britton & Rose
Genus honouring Charles Edwin Bessey (1845-1915), professor of botany at the University of Nebraska (USA). “Neo”,
because the genus Besseya had already been used to designate a Scrophulariaceae in 1903 (see portrait above, public
A genus of small plants more or less spherical, or subglobose becoming elongated, solitary or caespitose often forming cushions. Tubercles rounded, having a characteristic longitudinal groove, and woolly areoles. Spines finely aciculate to subulate, pubescent.
Flowers diurnal, often self-fertile, subapical, opening widely, outer tepals ciliate, creamy-yellow, greenish-yellow to pinkish, stigmas green or greenish-yellow, usually pollinated by bees. Fruits globose to oboval, fleshy, intense red, the remnants of the dried out perianth eventually falling. Seeds variable in size, roughly globose, foveolate, blackishbrown.
The genus Neobesseya has a very wide geographic distribution area, from northern Mexico up to northern United States, with an significant disjunction in Cuba (N. cubensis), and grows usually in more or less large colonies, at ground level, in full sun on hills, or slightly in the shade of shrubs, on rocky plains with a sparse xerophytic vegetation, on clayey soils (N. abdita), on slates (N. duncanii), ripplemarked sandstones, in gravel, in woody grasslands or dry plains, on desert margins and at the edge of forests, between 400 m and 2700 m in altitude. For example, N. cubensis grows on low hills composed of serpentine, among bushes and grasses, on a stony soil rich in iron and in manganese, in a very well drained soil.
Cuba (Holguin), Mexico (Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo Leon, Sonora, Tamaulipas, Zacatecas), USA (Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Wyoming).
Currently 10 recognised species + 2 subspecies:
– Neobesseya abdita (Repka & Vasko) J.Lode 2013 (ex Escob. abdita Repka & Vasko 2011)
– Neobesseya cubensis (Britton & Rose) Hester 1941
– Neobesseya dasyacantha* (Engelm.) J.Lode 2013
– Neobesseya dasyacantha subsp. chaffeyi (Britton & Rose) J.Lode 2013
– Neobesseya duncanii (Hester) J.Lode 2013
– Neobesseya emskoetteriana (Quehl) J.Lode 2013
– Neobesseya lloydii (Britton & Rose) J.Lode 2013
– Neobesseya minima (Baird) J.Lode 2013
– Neobesseya missouriensis* (Sweet) Britton & Rose 1923
– Neobesseya missouriensis subsp. asperispina (Boedeker) J.Lode 2013
– Neobesseya robbinsorum (w.Earle) Doweld 2000
– Neobesseya zilziana* (Boed.) Boed. 1933
References: "TAXONOMY of the CACTACEAE" - ISBN 978-84-617-3692-8 (Vol. 2)