Copiapoa cinerea (Phil.) Britton & Rose

First published in Cact. 3: 86 (1922)
This species is accepted
The native range of this species is Chile (Antofagasta to Atacama). It is a succulent subshrub and grows primarily in the desert or dry shrubland biome.


Larridon, I. et al. (2018). Investigating taxon boundaries and extinction risk in endemic Chilean cacti (Copiapoa subsection Cinerei, Cactaceae) using chloroplast DNA sequences, microsatellite data and 3D mapping. Kew Bulletin 73: 55.

Morphology General Habit
Plants generally branching laterally and/or basally, sometimes forming loose mounds; stems globose to elongated-cylindrical, up to c. 100 × 18 cm; hard, grey-green, ± pruinose; apical wool white or grey
Morphology Roots
Roots fibrous
Morphology General
Ribs obtuse, 12 – 26, up to 2 cm broad and up to 1.5 cm high, hardly widened at areoles, slightly tuberculate
Morphology General Areoles
Areoles round, <7 mm, grey to black, 1 – 1.5 cm apart
Morphology General Spines
Spines variable, few (<10), usually subulate, generally black, turning grey, straight rarely slightly bent, mostly <3 cm; radials 0 – 6, usually <2 cm; centrals 0 – 4, thicker and somewhat longer
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers
Flowers funnel-form, pale yellow, c. 2.5 – 3.5 cm; interior perianth segments often tipped red, external ones with reddish mid-stripe; a few small pink bract scales only on rim of pericarpel and lower portion of hypanthium, axils naked; pericarpel offset from hypanthium; ovary compressed; nectary large
Morphology Reproductive morphology Fruits
Fruit pinkish-red, 1 – 1.5 cm, with c. 5 small, red bract scales
Morphology Reproductive morphology Seeds
Seeds ovoid to c. 1.5 mm; testa smooth; hilum large, narrow oval, position oblique.
According to the IUCN Red List, the conservation status of Copiapoa cinerea (circumscription including C. cinerea subsp. cinerea, subsp. columna-alba and subsp. haseltoniana) is LC (Faundez et al. 2013). Using the species delimitation as accepted by Larridon et al. (2015) and this study, even the total EOO and AOO values for C. cinerea, indicate that it may be considered as EN if conforming to additional conditions listed in Criterion B (IUCN 2012). Although Schulz & Kapitany (1996) and Guerrero et al. (2010, 2012) estimated that, overall population trends are negative due to generally low numbers of seedling recruitment, high percentage of senile individuals, and declining habitat quality, this negative trend is not followed by C. cinerea subsp. columna-alba. As a species therefore, the conservation status can be maintained as LC.


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