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Origin and Habitat: This species is endemic to Argentina, where it occurs near Suyuque Nuevo and Suyuque Viejo, and in the adjiacent areas on the southwest flank of the Sierra San Luis. The species is known from only one population, and it is sparsely distributed (extent of occurrence less than 100 km2).
Altitude: Between 800 and 1550 metres above sea level.
Habitat and Ecology: The species grows in high altitude arid grasslands in patches of barren granite and scree above the tree line. Illegal collection is depleting the only known population of Gymnocalycium neuhuberi, which has a very restricted range.
- Gymnocalycium neuhuberi H.Till & W.Till
Gymnocalycium neuhuberi H.Till & W.Till
Gymnocalycium 5(1): 59 (1992)
- Gymnocalycium neuhuberi H.Till & W.Till
- Gymnocalycium curvispinum Frič
- Gymnocalycium pseudoneuhuberi n.n., Šorma
Description: Gymnocalycium neuhuberi is a beautiful species, of modest size, particularly attractive for its beautiful lilac flowers with a usually yellowish (sometimes orange or brown) spination. Not only the neuhuberi has a beautiful flower for a Gymno, but it is also scented. When it was discovered, probably because of the large pink colour of its flowers, this taxon was put in relation with Gymnocalycium monvillei. In fact it grows together with the local form of Gymnocalycium monvillei and a beautiful form of Gymnocalycium fischeri named Gymnocalycium fischeri ssp. suyuquense by Berger in 2003.
Habit: Gymnocalycium neuhuberi is a slowly growing succulent species, usually solitary.
Stem: Spherical or hemispherical, usually much depressed, gray-green, to 4,8 cm tall and 7 cm across. Epidermis dull, fine-grained.
Ribs: 9-12, wavy, conspicuously divided into pentagonal tubercles with a small blunt chin, tubercles at the base of plants flattened and often wider than tall (15-20 mm wide). .
Areoles: Round to oval, about 6-7 mm in diameter, slightly depressed, 15-20 mm apart, naked or with some short woolly felt just on top of the areola.
Spines: Aciculate, sharp, terete to slightly curved, the base thickened, yellowish, but occasionally orange or brownish.
Central spine: Usually 1 in young specimens, later 4, forming a cross in adult plants a little longer than the radials.
Radial spines: About 9, lower ones15-22 mm long., upper two pairs shorter, 11-12 mm long, the old plants often have 1-3 small bristly spines in the uppermost edge of the areola.
Flowers: From young areoles near the apex, funnelform, pale violet or lilac, 27-36 mm long, 26-34 mm in diameter and sometimes even larger. Pericarpel short conical, 6-7 mm long, 9-10 mm in diameter, light green, shiny, with broadly rounded or slightly pointed, pale brownish scales, upper scales longer than the outer petals. Outer perianth segments linear-lanceolate, up to 21 mm long, 6 mm wide, with a mauve relatively wide, medium green stripe. Inner segments lanceolate, becoming gradually shorter toward the centre (20 mm long and 5 mm wide decreasing to 13 mm long and 4 mm broad) lilac with darker purple mid-stripe. Filaments thin, white, 5-6 mm long. Anthers circular, about 0.8 mm in diameter; pollen pale yellow. Pistil slender, white, 12-14 mm long, 1.5 mm in diameter. Stigma with 9 creamy white, slender, lobes 3-4 mm long exerted beyond the stamens. Nectar chamber 3.5 mm wide, 1-2 mm high. The cavity of the ovary is 5 x 5 mm, shaped like a urn, with white walls and densely filled with white ovules.
Blooming season: Flowers are produced in late spring and remain open for up to twelve days. The flowers are diurnal and open in the afternoon.
Fruits: Oval, dark green, 15-18 mm long, 10-12 mm in diameter with dried flowers remnants..
Seeds: Helmet shaped, 1,2 x 1 mm, black, testa with slightly raised cells. Hilum and micropylar area large, flat, nearly spherical. The seeds are covered with a thin dry skin, which can be easily detached.
Subspecies, varieties, forms and cultivars of plants belonging to the Gymnocalycium neuhuberi group
- Gymnocalycium neuhuberi H.Till & W.Till: has pink flowers, yellowish, orange or brown spines. Distribution: Suyuque Nuevo and Suyuque Viejo, and southwest flank of the Sierra San Luis, Argentina.
- Gymnocalycium pseudoneuhuberi n.n., Šorma: has cream coloured spines and white flowers. Distribution: Suyuque Nuevo, San Luis, Argentina.
Bibliography: Major references and further lectures
1) Demaio, P., Perea, M. & Trevisson, M. 2013. Gymnocalycium neuhuberi. In: IUCN 2013. "IUCN Red List of Threatened Species." Version 2013.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 04 January 2014.
2) Edward Anderson “The Cactus family” Timber Press, Incorporated, 2001
3) David R Hunt; Nigel P Taylor; Graham Charles; International Cactaceae Systematics Group. "The New Cactus Lexicon" dh books, 2006
4) 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
5) “Gymnocalycium neuhuberi H.Till & W.Till” in: Gymnocalycium (Austria), 2 (5), 1992
Gymnocalycium neuhuberi Photo by: Valentino Vallicelli
The gallery now contains thousands of pictures, however it is possible to do even more. We are, of course, seeking photos of species not yet shown in the gallery but not only that, we are also looking for better pictures than those already present. Read More...
Cultivation and Propagation: Gymnocalycium neuhuberi 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: During cold weather periods keep rather dry, but it can handle excessive water to little water, keep dry in winter at a minimum temperature of 0°C. Make sure that soil gets the chance to dry out in between waterings.
Fertilization: Feed with a high potassium fertilizer in summer.
Frost Tolerance: Reputedly resistant to frost if kept on the dry side prior to, and during, cold weather, but for safe cultivation it is best to avoid severe 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: Mainly through seeds. 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!
Seed Collecting: Permit fruit to ripen, fruit must be significantly overripe before harvesting seed; clean and dry seeds.
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