Brazil, December 14 of 2018  
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New Brazilian Melocactus  

 

The new and very different dwarfish species, Melocactus braunii Esteves, was discovered to the East of Rio Salitre's mountains and Southwest of the city of Senhor do Bomfim. The plant was found in one is worth where prospectors were digging in search of gold and emeralds.

  Introduction


Melocactus braunii
Esteves, a new dwarfish species discovered in Bahia, Brazil.

In the proximities of the habitat we saw, in a campo rupestre, some young plants of Pilosocereus luetzelburgii and, the presence of those cacti, invited us to a more detailed search in the steep slopes of the area. Some minutes later we discovered the first small Melocactus. The bodies of the plants were small, slightly flat and conical (similar with the Melocactus matanzanus Léon, of Cuba or Melocactus concinnus Buining & Brederoo, of Brazil), big cephalium in relation to the plants and with extraordinary short and curved spines that differ of all the other known species of the gender. After studying the plants over a period of a decade, it seems to be justified to describe them as new species. It was a great pleasure to name this notable species after my german friend, Dr. Pierre Braun in recognition to his extraordinary effort and dedication in the study of Brazilian Cactáceas. We are working and traveling through Brazil, in search of the cacti, for 20 years.

Melocactus braunii Esteves, in habitat

Up to now we know Melocactus braunii from only one locality in Bahia and it was not possible to find other habitats since 1993. That means at the moment the species must be considered to be rare, but we cannot exclude that there are more habitats in the adjacent mountains. As long as these are not known, we prefer not to mention the exact habitat locality.

Cultivation - Melocactus braunii is a dwarf and very handsome species, quite nice in cultivation. It can be grown easily from seeds. After about five years, with a size of about 8-10 cm diameter the plants produce a cephalium, subsequently flowering in great abundance.
As the species` origin is a higher mountainous region the plants tolerate temperatures of about 5° C. That means Melocactus braunii might become a very attractive and popular species in collections.

  Summary description:


Melocactus braunii
Esteves spec. nov.

Plant: 11-15 cm in diameter, 7-8 cm high without cephalium. Ribs: (10-)13. Cephalium: small, max. 6 cm in diameter and 4 cm high, with white wool and reddish bristles. Areoles: adult plants with 8-9 visible areoles per rib. Spines:  1 central spine, ca. 1 cm long; (7-) 9 radial spines in circular position. Flower: 1.7 to 2.1 cm long, 0.8-1.1 cm wide in full anthesis. Pericapel: 2-3 mm long and 4 mm wide, rose. Receptacle: tubular; 1.5-1.7 cm long and 5 mm wide. Transition leaves: 2-3 mm long,1-2 mm wide. Outer perianth leaves: 3-5 mm long and 2 mm wide. Inner perianth leaves: about 25. Seed cavity: ca. 2 mm long and 1.0-1.5 mm wide. Nectar chamber: 3 mm long and 2.5 mm wide, white-rose. Stamens: the lowest ones 1.4-2.0 mm long, white. Style: 1 cm long, 0.8 mm thick, white, in the upper part slightly rose, with 5 stigma lobes, these pale yellow, ca. 1.5 mm long. Fruit: a clavate berry, naked, 17 mm long and ca. 8 mm wide. Seed: black, helmet-shaped, about 1 mm long and 0,7-0,8 mm thick. Habitat: Brazil, northern part of the state of Bahia.


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