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Origin and Habitat: Austrocylindropuntia lagopus (= Austrocylindropuntia malyana) is mainly distributed in Perú in Puno, northeast of Macusani , but it also occurs in Imata, Arequipa (Perú). A separate subpopulation has been reported from La Paz, Bolivia, but this information requires verification. This species has a restricted range (Extent of Occurrence is estimated to be 2,200 km2)
Altitude renge: 4,100-4,600 meres above sea level.
Habitat and Ecology: The species occurs in humid puna grasslands. It is relatively abundant where it occurs. Collection does not occur due to its size. In Imata (Perú), the species has been affected by the construction of Pillones dam related to the mining industry; it was not flooded, but rather destroyed by the vehicular movement related to the construction. The same happened in Melgar (Puno).
- Austrocylindropuntia lagopus (K.Schum.) I.Crook, J.Arnold & M.Lowry
Austrocylindropuntia lagopus (K.Schum.) I.Crook, J.Arnold & M.Lowry
Bradleya 21: 89 (11 Aug. 2003) [ see also: ( K.Sch. ) F.Ritter Kakteen SÃ¼damerika 4: 1242 (1981)]
- Austrocylindropuntia lagopus (K.Schum.) I.Crook, J.Arnold & M.Lowry
- Andinopuntia lagopus (K.Schum.) Guiggi
- Maihueniopsis lagopus (K.Schum.) R.Kiesling
- Opuntia lagopus K.Schum.
- Punotia lagopus (K.Schum.) D.R.Hunt
- Tephrocactus lagopus (K.Schum.) Backeb. in Backeb. & F.M.Knuth
- Austrocylindropuntia malyana (Rausch) F.Ritter
Description: Austrocylindropuntia lagopus, firstly described as Opuntia lagopus by K.Schum.
in 1903, is a low growing cactus species forming very dense, large cushions to several meters in diameter and a height of 60 cm. From the areoles arise very fine, up to 2 centimeters long, creamy-yellowish hair. A. lagopus has been frequently confused with some forms of the similar Austrocylindropuntia floccosa which inhabits the same area, but now it is definitively identified with the Austrocylindropuntia malyana of our collections (Described later as Tephrocactus malyanus by Rausch in 1971) and considered a synonym of A. lagopus.
Derivation of specific name: The epithet “lagopus” comes from the Greek “lagôs”: hare and “pous”: foot in reference to the narrow stems covered with a thick white wool, evoking the leg of a snowshoe hare (Lepus americanus) .
Stem: Segmented, articles short cylindrical, to 15-25(-45) cm long, sometimes shorter and globose, tuberculate. The stems are so densely hairy and conceiled that probably do not have any photosynthesis role, which is indeed supported by the leaves.
Leaves: Up to 7 mm long, persistent, fusiform to club-shaped. In habitat the leaves are almost entirely hidden in the hair, but usually noticeably exerted above the hairs in cultivation,.
Areoles: Filled with fibrous, uniseriate (formed by a single row of cells, so very thin and Silky) creamy-yellowish hairs to 2 cm long; glochids sparse, hidden, white or glassy, remaining hidden, easily detached and blown away by wind, 1-1.5 cm long.
Spine: One, yellow, 2-2.5 cm long.
Flowers: Diurnal, golden yellow, barely emerging from bristles at anthesis, 1,5-3(-4.5) cm long; pericarpels hairy towards the tip.
Fruits: Egg-shaped, thin-walled, at first bright green and then yellow to light pink at maturity containing 5-10.
Seeds: Spherical or near so, about 5 mm in diameter.
Taxonomy: Genetic analysis revealed that Austrocylindropuntia lagopus was located at the junction of two genera, Austrocylindropuntia and Cumulopuntia. For this reason D.R. Hunt create a the new monospecific genus Punotia for the sole Austrocylindropuntia lagopus.
Subspecies, varieties, forms and cultivars of plants belonging to the Austrocylindropuntia lagopus group
Bibliography: Major references and further lectures
1) Edward F. Anderson “The Cactus Family” Timber Press, 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) Urs Eggli, Leonard E. Newton: “Etymological Dictionary of Succulent Plant Names.” Springer, Berlin/Heidelberg 2010
4) Friedrich Ritter “Kakteen in Südamerika: Ergebnisse meiner 20jährigen Feldforschung” Band 4, 1981, S. 1244.
5) David Hunt, Nigel Taylor “The New Cactus Lexicon” DH Books, 2006
6) Ostalaza, C., Cáceres, F. & Roque, J. 2013. Austrocylindropuntia lagopus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 10 September 201
7) Friedrich Ritter “Kakteen in Südamerika – Ergebnisse meiner 20jährigen Feldforschung” Volume 4 Peru, Friedrich-Ritter-Selbstverlag, Spangenberg 1981.
8) Cactology. Volume 2, Supplement, 2011.
9) Britton, N. L. & J. N. Rose. “Cactaceae” The Carnegie Institution of Washington, Washington, D.C. 1919.
10) Foster, R. C. “A catalogue of the ferns and flowering plants of Bolivia.” Contr. Gray Herb. 184: 1–223.1958.
11) “Punotia lagopus (K. Schumann) D.R. Hunt 2011” in: Cactaceae Systematics Initiatives 25: 26 (octobre 2011).
12) Ritz C.M. et al., “Molecular phylogeny and character evolution in terete-stemmed Andean opuntias (Cactaceae−Opuntioideae)”, Molecular phylogenetics and evolution 65(2): 668-681 (2012).
13) Eggli U. & Leuenberger B.E., “Type specimens of Cactaceae names in the Berlin Herbarium (B) [De herbario berolinensis notulae 48]”, Willdenowia 38: 213-280 (2008).
14) Urs Eggli, Leonard E. Newton “Etymological Dictionary of Succulent Plant Names.” Springer, Berlin/Heidelberg 2010.
15) Crook I., Arnold J. & Lowry M., “Austrocylindropuntia lagopus clarification of nomenclature and observations in habitat”, Bradleya: Yearbook of the British Cactus and Succulent Society, 21: 87-92 (2003).
16) Gilmer K. & Thomas H.P., “Beobachtungen an Austrocylindropuntia malyana”, Kakteen und andere Sukkulenten 50(6): 129-135 (1999).
17) Lau A., “South American Cactus Log Part XIII”, Cactus and Succulent Journal (US) 52: 289-292 (1980).
18) Goodspeed T H. “Plant Hunters in the Andes” 81 (1941).
19) Weberbauer A., “Die Pflanzenwelt der peruanischen Anden”, in Engler A. & Drude O., “Die Vegetation der Erde” 12: t. 14 (1911).
20) Philippe Corman “Encyclopédie: Punotia” Succulentopi@, N° 11 - Octobre 2014 <http://www.cactuspro.com/succulentopia/Succulentopia-N11-2014-10.pdf>
Cultivation and Propagation: Not easy, because of the mountain environment in which the plants live, they need as much direct sun light as possible to encourage the heaviest spines an wool formation, plants in shaded positions grows etiolated and fail to produce the typical hairy covering. They need to be kept in a cool place during the winter rest (at 0 to -10°C) this is important for the flowers as well as for their health.
They are quite winter hardy and can be cultivated outdoor, if adequately protected from the rain and kept perfectly dry. Needs good drainage, water sparingly (rot prone).
Propagation: Seeds are seldom available and extremely difficult to germinate, best reproduced by cutting that frequently doesn't succeed to produce roots or roots very slowly and unpredictably. For this reason this plant is often grafted. For a very long time, Austrocylindropuntia lagopus (= Austrocylindropuntia malyana) was regarded as incapable to cultivate without grafting, but even this fallacy appeared to concern particular clone.
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