CPC National Collection Plant Profile

Coryphantha minima

Photographer:
Lynda Pritchett-Kozak

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CPC National Collection Plant Profile

Coryphantha minima


Family: 
Cactaceae  
Common Name: 
Nellie Cory cactus
Author: 
Baird
Growth Habit: 
Shrub
CPC Number: 
1081

Distribution
Protection
Conservation
References


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Coryphantha minimaenlarge
Photographer: Lynda Pritchett-Kozak


Coryphantha minima is Not Sponsored
Primary custodian for this plant in the CPC National Collection of Endangered Plants is: 
Kathleen C. Rice contributed to this Plant Profile.

 
Coryphantha minima


The Nellie Cory Cactus, Coryphantha minima, was listed as endangered on November 7, 1979. The plants are small, round, up to 2.5 cm tall, and 1.2 cm in diameter, densely spied with yellowish spines. Flowers are rose-purple, and up to 1.cm tall, in May. Fruits are green and fleshy when ripe.

Distribution & Occurrence

State Range
  Texas
State Range of  Coryphantha minima
Habitat
  Plants are restricted to desert grassland on the Caballos-Novaculite limestone formation which is located primarily on privately-owned land in west Texas (USFWS 1979, 1984). Only one known site has been accessed. Little is known about population trends in the wild.

Distribution
  It is widely believed that there is a greater number of plants than is currently known, and additional information on the distribution and population numbers of this species may result in desisting (USFWS 1984).

Number Left
  There are apparently three known populations, none of which can be accessed currently, numbers of individuals per population, demographic information, or direction of trends are not known (USFWS 1984).

Protection

Global Rank:  
G1
 
1/16/2002
Guide to Global Ranks
Federal Status:  
LE
 
10/24/1996
Guide to Federal Status
Recovery Plan:  
Yes
 
9/20/1984

State/Area Protection
  State/Area Rank Status Date  
  Texas S1 E 4/28/1987  

Conservation, Ecology & Research

Ecological Relationships
  Plants flowering in cultivation do not self-pollinate.

Threats
  Collection is the threat that most affects Coryphantha minima, but this threat is mitigated by militantly protective landowners who do not allow non-locals to access the land (USFWS 1979, 1984).
Overgrazing does not impact C. minima, as the habitat is exceptionally rocky, and Selaginella is a dominant species (USFWS 1984). Even trampling is not a real concern, as plants shrink below the soil surface during drought times (all year except summer), and plants generally grow between rocks.

Current Research Summary
  Currently, little research has been accomplished on C. minima, due to blanket denial of access to the site. Efforts have been made to form an association with a nearby land manager who does have permission to access the site. Little quantitative data has been obtained so far.

Plants in cultivation began to flower in mid-May and continued to flower through June. Controlled cross-pollinations were attempted, but no fruits resulted. One of the plants flowered that had been tissue-cultured at ASU and received at Desert Botanical Garden on 3 March 1995. Plants were periodically sprayed with a dilute solution of Marathon to prevent spider mite infestation.

Current Management Summary
  Land is managed in the style of the most land associated with the Trans-Pecos Heritage Association (relatively heavily grazed).

Research Management Needs
  Additional information of every kind is needed.
Because of the difficulties in accessing plants located on the Caballos-Novaculite formation which lies primarily on privately owned land, little is known about population trends of Coryphantha minima in the wild. It is possible that populations of this talon are stable and the plant may become a candidate for de-listing; without surveys to determine the approximate distribution and numbers of populations, the species may remain on the Endangered Species list indefinitely. There is a critical need to recollect seed from wild populations located on private land, as the twelve field-collected seeds held by the Desert Botanical Garden are now twelve years old.

Ex Situ Needs
  The Desert Botanical Garden has been unable to visit other potential sites, and the conservation collection consists of only 7 genetic individuals, 12 field-collected seeds, and 1,910 seeds produced in cultivation.
Desert Botanical Garden has 37 Coryphantha minima clones that were produced through tissue culture of 2 seeds. Initially, the tiny plants were undifferentiated tissue, and did not resemble Coryphantha minima. The plants have grown and individual heads can be now be distinguished. Two of these plants flowered for the first time in 1997. Cross-pollination was attempted, but no fruit resulted.

References

Books (Single Authors)

Benson, L. 1982. The Cacti of the United States and Canada. Stanford, California: Stanford University Press. 1044p.

Correll, D.S.; Johnston, M.C. 1970. Manual of the vascular plants of Texas. Renner: Texas Research Foundation. 1881p.

Kartesz, J.T. 1993. Species distribution data for vascular plants of 70 geographical areas, from unpublished data files at the North Carolina Botanical Garden.

Kartesz, J.T. 1996. Species distribution data at state and province level for vascular plant taxa of the United States, Canada, and Greenland (accepted records), from unpublished data files at the North Carolina Botanical Garden.

Poole, J.M.; Riskind, D.H. 1987. Endangered, threatened, or protected native plants of Texas. Austin, TX: Texas Parks Wildlife Department.

Warnock, B.H. 1977. Wildflowers of the Davis Mountains and the Marathon Basin, Texas. Alpine, Texas: Sul Ross State Univ. 274p.

Weniger, D. 1970. Cacti of the Southwest. Austin and London: University of Texas Press.

Weniger, D. 1984. Cacti of Texas and neighboring states: a field guide. Austin: University of Texas Press. 356p.

Books (Sections)

Kartesz, J.T. 1999. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the U.S., Canada, and Greenland. In: Kartesz, J.T.; Meacham, C.A., editors. Synthesis of the North American Flora, Version 1.0. North Carolina Botanical Garden. Chapel Hill, NC.

Conference Proceedings

Poole, J.; Janssen, G.K. Managing and Monitoring Rare and Endangered Plants on Highway Rights-of-way in Texas. Gen. Tech. Rep. RM-GTR-283. Proceedings of the Southwestern Rare and Endangered Plant Conference; September 11-14; Flagstaff, AZ. In: Maschinski, J.; Hammond, H.D.; Holter, L., editors. 1996. USDA and US Forest Service. p 8-12.

Electronic Sources

(2000). Center for Plant Conservation's National Living Collection--Profiles. Desert Botanical Garden. http://www.dbg.org/Collections/cpc.html. Accessed: 2002.

(2002). Conserving Native Species in Brewster County. Texas Department of Agriculture. http://www.agr.state.tx.us/pesticide/endangered/pes_brewster1.htm. Accessed: 2002.

ESIS. (1998). Endangered Species System (ESIS): Fish and Wildlife Exchange. [Web site;] Virginia Tech. http://fwie.fw.vt.edu/WWW/esis/. Accessed: 2002.

Journal Articles

Malda, G.; Backhaus, R.A.; Martin, C. 1999. Alterations in growth and crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM) activity of in vitro cultured cactus. Plant Cell Tissue and Organ Culture. 58, 1: 1-9.

Malda, G.; Suzan, H.; Backhaus, R. 1999. In vitro culture as a potential method for the conservation of endangered plants possessing crassulacean acid metabolism. Scientia Horticulturae. 81, 1: 71-87.

Rice, K. 2000. North America's Deserts: Treasure Troves of Endemism. World Conservation.

USFWS. 1976. Proposed Endangered Status for 1700 U.S. Plants. Federal Register. 41: 24523-24572.

USFWS. 1979. Determination that Echinocereus viridiflorus var. davisii and Coryphantha minima are Endangered Species. Federal Register. 44, 217: 64738-64740.

USFWS. 1979. Service Lists 32 Plants. Endangered Species Technical Bulletin. 4, 11: 1, 5-8.

USFWS. 1983. Regional Briefs-Region 2. Endangered Species Technical Bulletin. 8, 12: 2, 5.

USFWS. 1985. Plans for Cacti. Endangered Species Technical Bulletin. 10, 1: 7-9.

Reports

USFWS. 1984. Recovery plan for the Nellie Cory cactus, Coryphantha minima Baird. Albuquerque, N.M.: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. p.34.

Weniger, D. 1979. Status report on Coryphantha minima. Albuquerque, New Mexico: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

Theses

Malda de Suzan, Guadalupe. 1996. Micropropagation and comparative growth analysis of in vitro and ex vitro cultured cacti (Coryphantha minima, Obregonia denegrii, Ariocarpus agavoides). [Ph.D. Thesis]: Arizona State University. 127p.


  This profile was updated on 3/4/2010
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