Showing posts with label Books. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Books. Show all posts

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Curtis’s Botanical Magazine – plate 6061 (vol. 99, 1873), Pelecyphora aselliformis

Curtis’s Botanical Magazine – plate 6061 (vol. 99, 1873), Pelecyphora aselliformisI have just started my first batch ever of Pelecyphora aselliformis from seed and found this a good opportunity to post on plate 6061 from Curtis’s Botanical Magazine describing this peculiar species.

Curtis's Botanical Magazine has been published continuously since 1787 and is the longest running botanical periodical featuring color illustrations of plants. Below you’ll find what the magazine had to say on Pelecyphora aselliformis back in 1873 along with scans of the original illustration as well as the accompanying descriptive text.

TAB. 6061.


Native of Mexico.


Genus PELECYPHORA, Ehrb.; (Benth. and H. f. Gen. Plant., vol. i. p. 848).

PELECYPHORA aselliformis; Ehrenberg in Bot. Zeit., vol.i. (1843) p. 737; Walp. Rep., vol. v. p. 822; Salm-Dyck Cact. in Hort. Dyck. cult. 5, et adn. 78; Först. Handb. der Cact. p. 257; Labouret. Monog. Cact. p. 148. Illust. Hortic., vol. vi. t. 186.
VAR. concolor, petalis concoloribus.

This remarkable and still very rare plant, has been long known amongst Cactus growers, and has in fact been in the trade for many years, having been imported by the brothers Tonel from Mexico, where it was said to have been found with the equally anomalous Cactaceous genus Anhalonium, (Ill. Hort., vol. xvi. t. 605 a). It was first published by Ehrenberg, from specimens grown in Berlin in 1843, but nothing was known of its floral character till Lemaire, in 1858, published in the “Illustration Horticole” quoted above, an excellent figure of it with a very full and interesting description.

The specimen here figured was forwarded by Mr. Justus Corderoy of Blewbury, early in June last, with the observation that the flower differs markedly in colour from that of Lemaire’s plant, which has an outer series of pale petals, whereas those of this are uniformly of a rose-purple, like the inner series of Lemaire’s. Though so unlike other Cacti in the sculpturing of the stem and its mammillae, Pelecyphora is not essentially different in these respects from Mammillaria ; the mammillae (which Lemaire regards as abnormal petioles and calls podaria) are vertically oblong, and crowned vertically with two contiguous rows of flat short horny cuspidate processes that overlap horizontally, and resemble the teeth of a comb ; these are analogous to the spines of a Mammillaria, but instead of being free and projecting, they lie flat, and are adnate to the ridge of the mammilla. This double series resembles curiously a wood-louse, with which insects the plant seems covered, and which fact has given it the trivial name of aselliformis.

DESCR. Stem tufted, dark green, shortly cylindric, three to four inches high, one and a half to two inches in diameter, often constricted about the middle, apex rounded. Mammillae spirally arranged, vertical, one third of an inch long, rhomboidal in a tranverse section at the middle, compressed laterally at the crown into a ridge, and contracted to a narrow base, woolly in the axils ; spines minute, short, flat, cartilaginous, linear, oblique, subfalcate, pungent, bifariously arranged on the crest of the mammilla, adnate to its surface with free tips. Flowers clustered towards the top of the stem, one and a half inch in diameter, sessile. Ovary small, naked, oblong, sunk in the axils of the mammillae. Perianth-tube short, free, naked, funnel-shaped ; segments in about four series, obovate-oblong ; acute, rose-purple. Stamens very numerous, inserted in the mouth of the tube, filaments slender, multi-seriate ; anthers minute. Style columnar ; stigmas with four erect lobes.---J D. H.

Fig. 1, front and 2, side view of a mammilla ; 3, flower laid open:- all magnified.

OCTOBER 1ST, 1873.

Pelecyphora aselliformis, Curtis’s Botanical Magazine – plate 6061 (vol. 99, 1873)

The scans are courtesy of the Botanicus Digital Library, Missouri Botanical Garden and are free for non-commercial use, as long as attribution is provided.

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Thursday, February 01, 2007

Curtis’s Botanical Magazine – plate 4296 (vol. 73, 1847), Lophophora williamsii

Curtis’s Botanical Magazine – plate 4296, Lophophora williamsiiSince my early days as a “Lophophora aficionado” I’ve heard and read that the first illustration of Lophophora williamsii appeared in Curtis’s Botanical Magazine in 1847 (plate 4296). This fact seems to be very well known – probably because of Anderson’s book Peyote, The Divine Cactus – nevertheless it’s been next to impossible to find a good reproduction of the illustration.

These days are over. The Botanicus Digital Library has scanned the material and made it available online. Below you’ll find copies of the scanned illustration as well as the accompanying description; the description is also reproduced in textual form.

TAB. 4296.


Mr. Williams' Echinocactus.


Gen. Char. (Vide supra, TAB. 4190.)

ECHINOCACTUS Williamsii ; humilis caespitosus turbinatus inferne teres transversim cicatricatus cinereo-fuscus superne umbilicato-depressus glaucus 6-8-costatus, costis latis convexis parce tuberculatis inermibus pulvilligeris, pulvillis e pilis fasciculatis densis erectis formatis, floribus parvulis subsolitariis albo-roseis.

ECHINOCACTUS Williamsii. “Lemaire, ex Salm-Dyck in Otto et Dietr. Allgem. Gartenzeit, xiii. p. 385.” Walp. Repert. V. 5. p. 816.

A neatly-formed species, which has a very pretty appearance when its starry blossoms are expanded. We received several plants of it at the Royal Gardens of Kew, through the favour of the Real del Monte Company, from the rocky hills of their district of mines in Mexico, with many other treasures. It flowers in the summer months.

DESCR. Our largest plants do not much exceed the size represented. They grow in a tufted manner and are often proliferous, as in the instance here shown: the parent plant being, as it were, stifled or subdued by its offspring. Each individual is turbinate: from the base to the crown, or summit, terete, of an ashy brown colour, and scarred with close transverse lines, occasioned, it would appear, by the progressive withering and contraction of the tubercles: the summit is broadly convex, but with a deep depression in the centre, glaucous, traversed from the centre outwards by 6-8 furrows, and thus divided into as many convex ridges, and these again, transversely, but more or less deeply, into rather large, rounded, more or less confluent unarmed tubercles, each of which has a dense tuft or short pencil of compact erect hairs:--no aculei. Flowers proceed from a young tubercle, near the centre of the crown. The base of the calyx is downy. The petals lanceolate, rather numerous, white, externally tipped with pale green, and having a rose-coloured line down the centre. Stamens yellow. Stigma of four spreading rays.

Curtis’s Botanical Magazine – plate 4296, Lophophora williamsii, Illustration
Curtis’s Botanical Magazine – plate 4296, Lophophora williamsii, Description p1
Curtis’s Botanical Magazine – plate 4296, Lophophora williamsii, Description p2

The scans are courtesy of the Botanicus Digital Library, Missouri Botanical Garden and are free for non-commercial use, as long as attribution is provided.

High-resolution copies of the scans can be found in the files section of the Lophophora Google group.

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Sunday, November 12, 2006

Britton and Rose - The Cactaceae

Britton and Rose: Lophophora

In the period from 1919 to 1923 the Carnegie Institution of Washington, D.C. published the monograph The Cactaceae - Descriptions and Illustrations of Plants of the Cactus Family. This four-volume work, written by Nathaniel Lord Britton and Joseph Nelson Rose, set new standards in cactus botany with meticulous diagnoses based on greenhouse and herbaria studies and years of field work. The four volumes are illustrated by photographs, drawings and color plates with the delicate artwork of Mary Eaton.

In the beginning of the 20th century, cactus taxonomy was a chaos with few but huge genera (in 1903 Schumann recognized about 800 species, which he grouped under 20 very heterogeneous genera). Rose and Britton fragmented this antiquated system of “collective genera” into many, more refined genera (The Cactaceae describes 1255 species under 124 genera). As a rule, the genera were founded on characters of flowers and fruit, combined with vegetative characters and geographical distribution.

The only edition of The Cactaceae - Descriptions and Illustrations of Plants of the Cactus Family available to the general public has for years been the black and white reprint from Dover Publications, but now the original first edition with color plates is being made available in digital form. At the time of writing volume 1 through 3 can be downloaded from Au Cactus Francophone along with other interesting material that are rarely seen by cactophiles (the Britton and Rose files are also available from the Carnegie Institution). The Cactaceae is a classic – go get it!

The two plates depicting Lophophora are included below.

Britton and Rose, The Cactaceae, Volume III, Plate X
The Cactaceae, Volume III, Plate X

Britton and Rose, The Cactaceae, Volume III, Plate IX
The Cactaceae, Volume III, Plate IX

A. Berger (1924), “Book Reviews: The Cactaceae. Descriptions and Illustrations of Plants of the Cactus Family”, Botanical Gazette, Vol. 77, No. 4, pp. 454-458.

As of March 2, 2007 all four volumes of The Cactaceae are available from Au Cactus Francophone.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

The New Cactus Lexicon: A Review

The New Cactus LexiconThe New Cactus Lexicon
David Hunt, Nigel Taylor, Graham Charles
dh books, 2006
ISBN 0 9538134 4 4

After a lengthy gestation period, the New Cactus Lexicon was published this summer. For ease of handling it’s divided into two volumes – the text volume is a concise alphabetical catalogue of cactus genera, species and subspecies accepted or proposed in the current standard literature on cacti, while the atlas volume contains more than 2500 illustrations covering nearly all of the species and subspecies recognized in the text, sometimes with two or more images.

Atlas volume
With its 526 pages of illustrations this volume is a stunning visual masterpiece, and the most comprehensive pictorial record of cacti ever published (the slightly blurred quality of the examples is entirely due to my reproduction).

Illustrations of Lophophora speciesThe aim of the atlas volume is to illustrate all of the recognized species, with an emphasis on using photographs of plants in habitat at a specified locality or in cultivation from a known source, whenever possible.

The entries in the atlas are not grouped alphabetically but rather ‘like with like’, making it easier for the user to compare related species or identify unnamed plants.

Text volume
The text volume comprises 373 pages and is a no-frills dictionary of the currently recognized genera, species and subspecies of cacti. It does not include any chapters of general information about the family, its history, morphology, ethnobotany, cultivation and so on – so don’t expect an encyclopedic work like Anderson’s The Cactus Family or Benson’s Cacti of the United States and Canada.

David Hunt is a known lumper and some of the main genera changes (Parodia now includes the former Notocactus, Echinopsis including Lobivia and Trichocereus etc.) have already been the cause of much debate (maybe that’s the reason for Hunt quoting Bill Bryson for having said “Taxonomy is sometimes described as a science and sometimes as an art, but really it’s a battleground” ;-).

Illustrations of Acharagma speciesStill, there has been room for some splitting , e.g. the division of Opuntia has added 12 genera, Lophophora fricii is now recognized as a valid species, Acharagma is not submerged in Escobaria, etc.

Whether you agree with Hunt’s classification or not, the New Cactus Lexicon is an excellent reference and certainly will become the reference book for years to come. As already mentioned the atlas volume is in a league of its own with excellent illustrations of the majority of the recognized cacti species and subspecies.

You can find more information on the New Cactus Lexicon in this post.

The book can be acquired directly from dh books or from specialized bookstores like Rainbow Gardens Bookshop or Keith’s Plant Books.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

The genus Lophophora – Kaktusy Special 2, 2005: A Review

I just received the new Kaktusy Special monograph on Lophophora. It comprehensively describes the distribution, characteristics and classification of the genus. In an attempt to resolve some of the taxonomic confusion surrounding Lophophora the authors propose a division of the genus into two sections and a change of rank.

lophophora kaktusy special 2 2005Based on factors like chemical composition, habitats, incompatibility of the species, rib numbers and morphology, etc, a division of the genus into the two sections Lophophora and Diffusae is proposed.

Section Lophophora comprises the various forms of the species L. williamsii including the type species (hence the autonym for the section).

Section Diffusae includes the three species related to L. diffusa, i.e. L. diffusa itself, L. fricii, and L. koehresii (aka L. diffusa v. koehresii, aka L. viridescens).

The authors argue convincingly for the taxonomic revision but it would have been interesting if the revision was supported by DNA sequencing results (like Butterworth et al. who confirmed that L. diffusa and L. williamsii are indeed distinct species).

The description for each species includes a detailed distribution map showing the range of the species. The booklet is packed with excellent habitat photos showing the plants natural growth forms (actually some of the very best habitat photos I’ve seen are included in this work – see examples below).

lophophora williamsii and diffusa habitat photos
Left – Lophophora williamsii, Sierra de la Paila, Coahuila
Right – Lophophora diffusa, Peña Miller, Queretaro

The booklet is rounded of with a few notes on the cultivation of Lophophora.

The genus Lophophora is a comprehensive and long needed review of the genus. As mentioned it would have been great with DNA sequencing results supporting the change of rank for L. fricii and L. koehresii. Also an index and a list of literature references would have been helpful. That being said, The genus Lophophora must be recommended to anyone interested in these fascinating plants.

The booklet is written by Jaroslav Bohata, Vojtĕch Myšák, and Jaroslav Šnicer; it comprises 48 pages, contains 89 color photos, 3 black and white photos, and 6 drawings. It is available from the Society of Czech and Slovak Cactus and Succulent Growers. Apart from the English edition I believe German and Czech editions are published as well.

Update - March 21, 2006
I have to mention the review of the Genus Lophophora published in the latest edition of CactusWorld (the journal of the British Cactus and Succulent Society). According to the reviewer this work “boldly goes where no taxonomist has gone before” in the attempt at clarifying the systematics of Lophophora ;-)

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Cacti of the Trans-Pecos & Adjacent Areas

I’ve meant to buy this book for more than a year now; I finally got it ordered and received my copy a couple of days ago. I haven’t read through it all yet, just browsed the sections on Ariocarpus, Epithelantha, and Lophophora. These are excellent and very informative; I’m looking forward to have the time to read the book from end to end.

Cacti of the Trans-Pecos & Adjacent Areas The Texas Tech University Press description reads: “Of the 132 species and varieties of cacti in Texas, about 104 of them occur in the nine counties of the Trans-Pecos region and in nearby areas. This volume includes full descriptions of those many genera, species, and varieties of cacti, with sixty-four maps showing the distribution of each species in the region.

The descriptions follow the latest findings of cactus researchers worldwide and include scientific names; common names; identifying characters based on vegetative habit, flowers, fruit, and seeds; identification of flowerless specimens; and phenology and biosystematics.”

Monday, August 08, 2005

The New Cactus Lexicon

I finally got around and ordered my ‘early subscriber’ copy of the The New Cactus Lexicon. The lexicon is prepared on behalf of the International Cactaceae Systematics Group (ICSG) by David Hunt et al. and will publish by March 2006 at the latest. The invitation to subscribe early expires at August 31, 2005. A full prospectus and order form is available online.

The New Cactus Lexicon“Planned as a successor to Backeberg's Cactus Lexicon, The New Cactus Lexicon will be the most scientifically authoritative conspectus of the Cactaceae published for nearly a century. It will be comprehensively illustrated in colour and is confidently expected to become the benchmark reference for all those with amateur or professional interests in the diversity, identification and conservation of cacti.”

I trust the lexicon will have in-depth coverage of Acharagma, Lophophora, Obregonia, Strombocactus etc. ;-)

Update - July 31, 2006
The lexicon arrived a couple of days ago – I’ll get back with more information when I’ve had a chance to study the books.

Update - September 17, 2006
The New Cactus Lexicon: A Review

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