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Origin and Habitat: Región de Antofagasta near Esmeralda, Chile
Altitude: 0 - 500 metres above sea level.
Habitat: Copiapoa longistaminea dwells in a very restricted coastal area on very compact granitic substrates with poor drainage where very little else grows. The erosion and the scarce rains create cracks and crevices and the seeds have the opportunity to germinate. The plants grow exposed in barren land, but with protection from direct sun through coastal fog (camanchaca) and obtain water mainly from condensation of the fog, they only manage to survive in those conditions. Even though the temperatures are moderate in the summer as well, the light on sunny days is so bright and burning that most Copiapoas are covered by a white waxy surface which protects the plants from the sun and reduces the evaporation. The wax gives the plants a characteristic, whitewashed look. The waxy coating is only created if the plants are exposed to ultraviolet rays and will only be created sporadically under glass in a greenhouse.
- Copiapoa longistaminea F.Ritter
Copiapoa longistaminea F.Ritter
Taxon xii. 31 (1963).
- Copiapoa longistaminea F.Ritter
- Copiapoa calderana subs. longistaminea (F.Ritter) N.P.Taylor
- Copiapoa cinerea subs. longistaminea (F.Ritter) Mereg.
- Copiapoa cinerea var. longistaminea (F.Ritter) Slaba
- Copiapoa cinerea var. longistaminea (F.Ritter) G.J.Charles
- Copiapoa tigrillensis Kníže
- Copiapoa uhligiana Kníže
ENGLISH: Copiapoa de Adriana
Description: Copiapoa longistaminea is one of the most admired species of Copiapoa that forms dense cushions, with many heads covered with greyish wax and with orange wool at the apex. Copiapoa longistaminea is probably a good species rather than a variety of Copiapoa cinerea.
Habit: Body highly branched to form large, dense cushions 30-100 cm in diameter and up to 60 cm tall, each with 15-21 individual heads.
Roots: Thickened short without narrow neck.
Stems: Globose to short cylindrical or pear-shaped tapered toward the apex, 7-15 cm in diameter and 30-50 cm tall, grey-green filled with orange wool in the crown. The grey colouration is a waxy coating presumably produced to prevent desiccation in it's extremely dry environment. In cultivation the waxy bloom is often not produced, revealing a green or brownish epidermis.
Ribs: 15-21, notched and dissolved in low tubercles.
Areoles: More or less orange turning grey, later glabrous.
Spines: 1-3 cm long, straight, stiff, brownish at first, later becoming dark red to black and finally grey.
Central spine: One but often absent.
Radial spines: 4-6 often hard to distinguish from the central spine.
Flowers. Diurnal closing at night, protracting the period of opening many days, funnel-shaped, bright yellow, 2,2 to 2,5 cm long.
Blooming season: Summer, it needs a lot of sunlight to bloom, so it's pretty rare to have blossoms when in cultivation in greenhouses. It is not unusual for this Copiapoa to take 10 or more years before it starts blooming, but once it does, it should every year.
Fruits: Bright green and up to 1 cm long.
Seeds: Black, about 1 mm broad.
Subspecies, varieties, forms and cultivars of plants belonging to the Copiapoa longistaminea group
- Copiapoa longistaminea F.Ritter: forms dense cushions, with many heads covered with greyish wax and with orange wool at the apex. Distribution: Esmeralda.
- Copiapoa tigrillensis Kníže: It is a local form with amber-brownish spines. It has been suggested that this plant might be a transitional form intermediate between Copiapoa longistaminea and Copiapoa columna-alba. Distribution: Quebrada Tigrillo.
- Copiapoa uhligiana Kníže
Bibliography: Major references and further lectures
1) Sean Hogan “Flora: a gardener's encyclopedia, Volume 1” Timber Press (Portland, Or.) Timber Press, 2003
2) Graham Charles. "Copiapoa" by Graham Charles. Southampton UK, 1998, Cirio Publishing Services Ldt. ISBN 0952830264
3) Rudolf Schulz and Attila Kapitany. "Copiapoa in their environment." Australia, 1996, Rudolf Schulz and Attila Kapitany. ISBN 0646287028
4) Friedrich Ritter: "Kakteen in Südamerika. Band 3" Friedrich Ritter Selbstverlag, Spangenberg 1979–1981, page. 1096 ff.
5) Marticorena, C. & M. Quezada. 1985. "Catálogo de la Flora Vascular de Chile." Gayana, Bot. 42: 1–157.
6) David R Hunt; Nigel P Taylor; Graham Charles; International Cactaceae Systematics Group. "The New Cactus Lexicon" dh books, 2006
7) Urs Eggli, Leonard E. Newton: "Etymological Dictionary of Succulent Plant Names." Birkhäuser 2004, ISBN 3-540-00489-0, page. 140.
8) Walther Haage “Kakteen von A bis Z” Anaconda ed. 2012 ISBN: 3866472609
9) Edward Anderson “The Cactus family” Timber Press, Incorporated, 2001
10) Zuloaga, F. O., O. Morrone, M. J. Belgrano, C. Marticorena & E. Marchesi. (eds.) 2008. "Catálogo de las Plantas Vasculares del Cono Sur (Argentina, Sur de Brasil, Chile, Paraguay y Uruguay)." Monogr. Syst. Bot. Missouri Bot. Gard. 107(1): i–xcvi, 1–983; 107(2): i–xx, 985–2286; 107(3): i–xxi, 2287–3348.
11) Taxon. Official News Bulletin of the International Society for Plant Taxonomy. Volume 12, Utrecht 1963, page. 31–32.
12) "Florula Atacamensis seu enumeration . . . In: Reise durch die Wueste Atacama :auf Befehl der chilenischen Regierung im Sommer 1853-54", Halle 1860, page. 23
Cultivation and Propagation: Considering that Copiapoa longistaminea comes from a habitat with an extremely arid climate, they are remarkably tolerant of pot culture. These plants have taproots and are susceptible to overwatering. They requires also an appropriate air circulation. Copiapoas are summer grower species easy to cultivate.
Growth rate: This is a slow growing cactus kept for the beauty of its form that will make clumps given the best conditions.
Soils: It likes very coarse mineral cactus mix soil, but can become too elongated if compost is too rich.
Repotting: Use pot with good drainage.
Watering: It requires light but regular waterings in summer, but let the soil mix dry between waterings, but do not overwater (Rot prone), it must be strictly kept dry throughout the winter quiescent period since it is very sensitive to any moisture excesses keep dry in winter.
Fertilization: Feed with a high potassium fertilizer in summer.
Hardiness: Not highly tolerant of a great deal of frost. They need to be kept in a cool place during winter rest and are resistant to light frost if kept on the dry side prior to, and during, cold weather ( they are hardy to -2 C ° C short periods). However some warmth throughout the year will increase the grower's success (minimum 5° to 10°C during rest season).
Exposition: Requires full sun or light shade and careful watering to keep plant compact with strong coloured spines. Tends to bronze in strong light, which encourages flowering and heavy spine production. Light shadow my be useful in the hottest summer days.
Uses: It is an excellent plant for container growing. It always looks good and stays small. It look fine in a cold greenhouse and frame or outdoor in a rockery.
Pests & diseases: It may be attractive to a variety of insects, but plants in good condition should be nearly pest-free, particularly if they are grown in a mineral potting-mix, with good exposure and ventilation. Nonetheless, there are several pests to watch for:
- Red spiders: Red spiders may be effectively rubbed up by watering the infested plants from above.
- Mealy bugs: Mealy bugs occasionally develop aerial into the new growth among the wool with disfiguring results, but the worst types develop underground on the roots and are invisible except by their effects.
- Scales: Scales are rarely a problem. It is wise to treat your whole collection with a systemic insecticide twice a year in spring and autumn.
- Rot: Rot is only a minor problem with cacti if the plants are watered and “aired” correctly. If they are not, fungicides won't help all that much. To prevent rottenness it is also advisable to surround its root neck by very rough sand or grit, this help a fast water drainage.
Propagation: Seeds (or offsets if available), Grafting is often used to speed growth rate and to create a back-up to plants in collection. Seeds germinate in 7-14 days at 21-27° C in spring, remove gradually the glass cover as soon the plants will be well rooted (ca 1-2 weeks) and keep ventilated, no full sun for young plants!
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