Genus honouring Dr Ira Loren Wiggins (1899-1987), North American botanist and specialist of the flora of Baja California, Mexico (see portrait above, cCSSA).
A genus of low-growing plants, usually solitary, globose or depressed with a central pseudocephalium formed by a cluster of trichomes that arise from the flowering areoles. Ribs acute, usually deep. Areoles spaced out and few, densely covered with white wool close to the apex, but stripping off with age, spines subulate, short, sturdy, very few.
Flowers diurnal, usually self-fertile, funnel-shaped to almost rotate, more or less pale yellow, with sensitive stamens, red stigma lobes, appearing at the apex from the modified central areoles, without spines but very woolly, forming a pseudocephalium, with a pericarpel and floral tube covered with strongly woolly scales in axils, pollinated by bees: Andrenidae (Acamptopoeum prinii, Anthrenoides micans, Arhysosage cactorum, Callynochium petuniae, Psaenythia annulata, P. superba), Anthophoridae (Ancyloscelis fiebrigii, Lanthanomelissa completa, Ceratina asunciana, C. hyemalis, C. rupestris, C. volitans, Ptilothrix fructifera), Apidae (Plebeia emerina, P. wittmannii), Colletidae (Cephalocolletes rugata), Halictidae (Augochlora amphitrite, A. semiramis, Augochloropsis euterpe, Dialictus sp.), Megachilidae (Lithurgus rufiventris) (Schlindwein & Wittmann, 1995, 1997). Fruits soft, elongated and somewhat flattened, naked, pink or red, appearing from the pseudocephalium when ripe, sometimes hidden, not retaining the remains of the dried perianth. Seeds large, bell-shaped, black, finely tuberculate, covered by a brown and wrinkled aril. Dispersion of seeds assured by ants (myrmecochory), also by rainwater (hydrochory).
The genus Wigginsia usually grows in small colonies in the pampa, on hills or rocky outcrops, on rocky, gravelly soils between stones, among grasses and bushes, in the shade or in full sun, mostly at low altitudes from 25 m, more rarely up to 2600 m in altitude in Bolivia [W. erinacea).
Argentina (Buenos Aires, Catamarca, Cordoba, Corrientes, Entre Rios, La Pampa), Bolivia (Chuquisaca), Brazil (Rio Grande do Sul), Colombia (Cundinamarca), Uruguay (Cerro Largo, Canelones, Colonia, Durazno, Florida, Lavalleja, Maldonado, Paysandu, Rio Negro, Rivera, Rocha, San Jose, Soriano, Tacuarembo, Treinta y Tres).
Currently 8 recognised species + one subspecies:
– Wigginsia arechavaletae (K. Schum. ex Spegazz.) D.M.Porter 1964
– Wigginsia erinacea* (Haw.) D.M.Porter 1964 (= W. corynodes)
– Wigginsia horstii Ritter 1979
– Wigginsia langsdorfii* (Lehm.) D.M.Porter 1964
– Wigginsia sellowii (Link & Otto) F.Ritter 1979
– Wigginsia tephracantha (Link & Otto) D.M.Porterl964
– Wigginsia turbinata (Arechavaleta) D.M.Porterl964
– Wigginsia turbinata subsp. calvescens (N.Gerloff & A.D.Nilson) Guiggi 2012
– Wigginsia vorwerkiana* (Werderm.) D.M.Porter 1964