Genus honouring Franz Buxbaum (1900-1979), Austrian botanist and “neo”, because the genus Buxbaumia already existed, to designate a bryophyte dedicated to the German botanist Johann Christian Buxbaum (1693-1730).
A genus of treelike, massive columnar plants, solitary or branched, with erect sturdy stems. Ribs usually numerous (up to 36 and more) with areoles close-set and regularly arranged. Spines stiff or flexible, more abundant and with bristles in the flower-bearing areoles.
Flowers nocturnal, remaining open in the morning, self-sterile, subapical, with tube bearing scales and nectariferous glands (N. euphorbioides), closely bell-shaped, white or pink, pollinated by bats (Artibeus jamaicensis, Choeronycteris mexicana, Leptonycteris curasoae, L. nivalis, L yerbabuenae and Sturnira lilium), but also by hummingbirds (Amazilia violiceps, A. yucatanensis, Chlorostilbon canivetii, Cynanthus sordidus, Doricha eliza), other birds (Melanerpes hypopolius), bees (Apis mellifera, Trigona sp.) and Sphingideae (Eumorpha anchemola). Fruits egg-shaped, spiny, with irregular longitudinal dehiscence, floral remains persistent, pulp white, non juicy, but edible. Seeds brown to blackish, shiny, kidney-shaped, smooth. Dispersal ensured by bats and, to a lesser extent, by birds. Possible action of ants, especially for fruits fallen on the ground.
The genus Neobuxbaumia grows among bushes and shrubs, on often very steep hills, between cliffs, in mostly limestone soils rich in humus (N. mezcalaensis) often together with bromeliads, also associated with many other cacti, from 50 m (N. scoparia), up to 1950 m in altitude (N. macrocephala). In its habitat, Neobuxbaumia represents the dominant plant of the landscape.
Mexico (Colima, Guanajuato, Guerrero, Hidalgo, Jalisco, Michoacan, Morelos, Oaxaca, Puebla, Queretaro, San Luis Potosi, Tamaulipas, Veracruz).
Currently 8 recognised species:
– Neobuxbaumia euphorbioides* (Haw.) Buxb. ex Bravo 1978
– Neobuxbaumia macrocephala* (F.A.C.Weber ex K.Schumann) E.Y.Dawson 1952
– Neobuxbaumia mezcalaensis* (Bravo) Backeb. 1941
– Neobuxbaumia polylopha* (DC.) Backeb. 193
– Neobuxbaumia sanchezmejoradae A.B.Lau 1994 (= N. laui)
– Neobuxbaumia scoparia* (Poselg.) Backeb. 1941
– Neobuxbaumia squamulosa Scheinvar & Sanchez-Mejorada 199
– Neobuxbaumia tetetzo * (F.A.C.Weber ex J.M.Coulter) Backeb. 1938