Your support is critical to our success.
Accepted Scientific Name: Gymnocalycium gibbosum (Haw.) Pfeiff. ex Mittler
Taschenb. Cactuslieb. 2: 124 (1844); et: Abbild. Beschr. Cact. 2: sub t. 1. 1845 Mittler
Origin and Habitat: Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Altitude: It grows at low elevation around 50 metres above sea level.
Gymnocalycium gibbosum (Haw.) Pfeiff. ex Mittler
Taschenb. Cactuslieb. 2: 124 (1844); et: Abbild. Beschr. Cact. 2: sub t. 1. 1845
- Gymnocalycium gibbosum (Haw.) Pfeiff. ex Mittler
- Gymnocalycium gibbosum var. brachypetalum (Speg.) Papsch
- Gymnocalycium gibbosum f. cerebriformis (Speg.) Papsch
- Gymnocalycium gibbosum var. chubutense (Speg.) Papsch
- Gymnocalycium gibbosum f. cristatum hort.
- Gymnocalycium gibbosum var. gerardii Boed.
- Gymnocalycium gerardii (Boed.) Y.Itô
- Gymnocalycium gibbosum var. leonense (Hildm. ex K.Schum.) Borg
- Echinocactus gibbosus var. leonensis Hildm. ex K.Schum.
- Echinocactus gibbosus f. leonensis (Hildm. ex K.Schum.) Schelle
- Gymnocalycium gibbosum var. leucacanthum (Rümpler) Borg
- Echinocactus gibbosus var. leucacanthus Rümpler
- Echinocactus gibbosus f. leucacanthus (Rümpler) Schelle
- Gymnocalycium gibbosum f. longispinum hort.
- Gymnocalycium gibbosum var. nigrum Backeb.
- Gymnocalycium gibbosum var. nobile (Haw.) Y.Itô
- Cactus nobilis Haw.
- Echinocactus gibbosus var. nobilis (Haw.) K.Schum.
- Echinocactus gibbosus f. nobilis (Haw.) Schelle
- Gymnocalycium gibbosum var. schlumbergeri (Rümpler) Borg
Gymnocalycium gibbosum subs. borthii (Koop ex H.Till) G.J.Charles
Cactaceae Syst. Init. 20: 18. 2005 [ Nov 2005 ]
- Gymnocalycium gibbosum subs. borthii (Koop ex H.Till) G.J.Charles
- Gymnocalycium borthii Koop ex H.Till
- Gymnocalycium borthii subs. kokori Halda & Milt
- Gymnocalycium borthii subs. nogolense Neuhuber
- Gymnocalycium borthii var. viridis Neuhuber
Gymnocalycium gibbosum subs. ferdinandii Halda, Malina & Milt
Acta Mus. Richnov., Sect. Nat. 9(1): 61 (fig. 71). 2002
Accepted name in llifle Database:
Gymnocalycium gibbosum subs. ferox (Labour. ex Rümpler) Papsch
Gymnocalycium 9(4): 201 (1996)
- Gymnocalycium gibbosum subs. ferox (Labour. ex Rümpler) Papsch
Gymnocalycium gibbosum subs. gastonii Halda & Milt
Acta Mus. Richnov., Sect. Nat. 9(1): 62 (fig. 72). 2002
Accepted name in llifle Database:
Gymnocalycium gibbosum subs. radekii Halda & Milt
Acta Mus. Richnov., Sect. Nat. 9(1): 63 (-64; fig. 73). 2002
Accepted name in llifle Database:
Gymnocalycium gibbosum subs. radovanii Halda & Milt
Acta Mus. Richnov., Sect. Nat. 13(1): 5 (-7; figs.). 2006
ENGLISH: Black Chin Cactus
Description: Gymnocalycium gibbosum var. nigrum a.k.a. “Black Chin Cactus ” is one of the controversial forms of the very variable Gymnocalycium gibbosum. The variety “nigrum” has jet- black spines on a nearly black body and large off-white flowers about 6 cm tall. However it look very similar to other varieties of Gymnocalycium gibbosum which are linked one to each others by populations of plants with intermediate characteristics. Nowadays all them are thought to belong to a unique polymorphic species. Such variations has led to establishment of several unnecessary names for this species.
Habit: It is a small solitary cactus.
Stem: Deep glaucous-green, dark olive green to grey-black, discoidal that became elongate with time 10-25 cm tall, up to 12 cm in diameter, the apex is slightly woolly. This stem tends to become rather greener with age especially if grown somewhat shaded.
Ribs: 10-16 straight, divided in well distinct angular ribs.
Areoles: Greyish, elongate.
Radial spines: 5 to 7 or more, less 20-25 mm long mm long slightly bent against the plants body, fairly stout, blackish, becoming whitish-grey with a black base as they age.
Central spines: 0-2 very similar to the radials.
Flowers: Infundibuliform in the nearest periphery just around the apex 45-60(-80) mm long, 60-65 in diameter. Tepals ivory white with a brownish mid rib or occasionally reddish, throat greenish with a basal reddish area. Style white-greenish, stigma white. Anthers cream coloured.
Fruits: Globate or fusiform, 20-40 mm long green with white bordered scales.
Subspecies, varieties, forms and cultivars of plants belonging to the Gymnocalycium gibbosum group
Gymnocalycium gibbosum has lots of synonyms (like many other Gymnocalyciums) whit several controversial varieties and subspecies and comprises a multitude of different forms, but where each form is linked to others by populations of plants with intermediate characteristics:
- Gymnocalycium gibbosum (Haw.) Pfeiff. ex Mittler: It is a small solitary cactus with deep glaucous-green to grey-black, discoidal stem up to 12 cm in diameter. Flowers in the nearest periphery just around the apex ivory white with a brownish mid rib or occasionally reddish, throat greenish with a basal reddish area.
- Gymnocalycium gibbosum subs. borthii (Koop ex H.Till) G.J.Charles: has dark green, round, low ribs with tubercles, large white flowers. Distribution: Quines, San Luis, Argentina
- Gymnocalycium gibbosum var. brachypetalum (Speg.) Papsch: has grey-black body and large white flowers. Distribution: La Pampa and Río Negro Argentina.
- Gymnocalycium gibbosum var. chubutense (Speg.) Papsch: has dark green to nearly black stem and cream-white or pinkish flowers. Chubut, Peninsula Valdes, Argentina
- Gymnocalycium gibbosum f. cristatum hort.: crested form.
- Gymnocalycium gibbosum subs. ferox (Labour. ex Rümpler) Papsch: has very robust radial spines and no centrals. Distribution Chubut province.
- Gymnocalycium gibbosum f. longispinum hort.: The form “longispinum” has longer and stiffer spines but is practically identical to the normal form in stem and flowers characteristics. (Only known in cultivation)
- Gymnocalycium gibbosum var. nigrum Backeb.: has very dark green to almost black stems.
- Gymnocalycium gibbosum var. nobile (Haw.) Y.Itô: This variety is easily recognized by the very dark olive-green body and the strong, more numerous, longer, overlapping, spines that are white with a darker base.
Bibliography: Major references and further lectures.
1) Edward Anderson “The Cactus family” Timber Press, Incorporated, 2001
2) James Cullen, Sabina G. Knees, H. Suzanne Cubey "The European Garden Flora Flowering Plants: A Manual for the Identification of Plants Cultivated in Europe, Both Out-of-Doors and Under Glass" Cambridge University Press, 11/Aug/2011
3) David R Hunt; Nigel P Taylor; Graham Charles; International Cactaceae Systematics Group. "The New Cactus Lexicon" dh books, 2006
4) N. L. Britton, J. N. Rose “The Cactaceae. Descriptions and Illustrations of Plants of the Cactus Family.” Volume 4, The Carnegie Institution of Washington, Washington 1923,
5) Curt Backeberg: “Die Cactaceae: Handbuch der Kakteenkunde” Volume V, Gustav Fischer Verlag, Stuttgart New York 1982–1985,
6) Walther Haage “Cacti as House Plants” Studio Vista, 1965
7) Margaret J. Martin, Peter Richard Chapman, Hugh Ambrose Auger “Cacti and their cultivation." Scribner's, 1975
Cultivation and Propagation: Gymnocalycium gibbosum is a summer grower species that is easy to cultivate.
Growth rate: It is a relatively rapidly growing and easily flowering species that will make clumps given the best conditions.
Soils: It likes very porous standard cactus mix soil. Prefer a low pH compost, avoid substrata rich in limestone; otherwise growth will stop altogether.
Repotting: This plant needs plenty of space for its roots, repotting should be done every other year or when the it has outgrown its pot. Use pot with good drainage.
Watering: Needs moderate to copious waterings in summer, but do not overwater (Rot prone), keep dry in winter at a minimum temperature of 0°C.
Fertilization: Feed with a high potassium fertilizer in summer.
Hardiness: Reputedly resistant to frost if kept on the dry side prior to, and during, cold weather (hardy to -12 C ° C, or less for short periods), but for safe cultivation it is best to avoid freezing temperatures.
Exposition: The plant tolerates extremely bright situations but enjoys filtered sunlight or afternoon shade, inside it needs bright light, and some direct sun. Tends to bronze in strong light, which encourages flowering and heavy spine production, but is likely to suffer from sun scorch or stunted growth if over exposed to direct sunlight during the hottest part of the day in summer.
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 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.
- Rot: This species is particularly easy and accommodating, seldom suffer of cryptogamic diseases. Rot it is only a minor problem with gymnocalyciums if the plants are watered and “aired” correctly. If they are not, fungicides won't help all that much.
Propagation: Division, direct sow after last frost. 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! To make a cutting twist off a branch and permit it to dry out a couple of weeks, lay it on the soil and insert the stem end partially into the soil. Try to keep the cutting somewhat upright so that the roots are able to grow downward.
|Back to Gymnocalycium index|
|Back to Cactaceae index|
|Back to Cacti Encyclopedia index|