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Bruce D. Parfitt, except as noted

Perennial herb, shrub, tree, generally fleshy. Stem: cylindric to spheric, or flat; surface smooth, tubercled, or ribbed (grooved); nodal areoles bearing flowers. Leaf: generally 0 or early-deciduous, flat to ± cylindric. Spines: areoles generally with central, radial spines, occasionally with glochids. Flower: generally 1 per areole, bisexual [unisexual], sessile, radial [bilateral]; perianth parts generally many [5], scale-like to petal-like; stamens many; ovary inferior [superior], style 1, stigma lobes generally several [many]. Fruit: dry to fleshy or juicy, indehiscent to variously dehiscent, spiny, scaly, or naked; tubercled or smooth. Seed: generally many, occasionally 0–few.
± 125 genera, ± 1800 species: America (especially deserts), Africa; many cultivated, some edible. [Parfitt & Gibson 2004 FNANM 4:92–257] Spines smaller, fewer (0) in shade forms; yellow spines blacken in age. Introduced species increasingly escape cultivation. Hybridization common in some genera. Taxa of Escobaria in TJM (1993) moved to Coryphantha. —Scientific Editors: Bruce D. Parfitt, Douglas H. Goldman, Bruce G. Baldwin, Thomas J. Rosatti.
Unabridged references: [Hunt 2006 The New Cactus Lexicon, DH Books, Milborne Port, England]

Key to Cactaceae

Generally erect, not branched, or if branched then forming low ± 50 cm diam clumps with up to 12[200] branches. Stem: not segmented; 2–15 cm, 2–15 cm diam, spheric, ovoid, or cylindric, soft-fleshy to firm, ribs 0, tubercles conic to cylindric, grooved along distal surface from base (axil) to spine cluster at tip. Spines: 3–95 per areole, < 1 mm diam, needle-like, smooth, straight [curved or hooked]; central spines 3–12. Flower: ± at stem tip, in axil of tubercle; 6–37[100] mm diam; perianth ± yellow-green to rose-pink or ± purple; ovary glabrous, spines 0, scales generally 0–few, fringed [entire]. Fruit: indehiscent, wide-ellipsoid to narrowly obovoid, spineless. Seed: 1.3–2.3 mm, reniform, pitted, black or brown.
16 species: western United States, Mexico. (Greek: crown + flower, referring to top flower position) [Taylor 1986 Cact Succ J Gr Brit 4:36–44]

Key to Coryphantha

C. chlorantha (Engelm.) Britton & Rose DESERT PINCUSHION
Stem: 1–few, 7–15 cm, 7–9 cm diam, short-cylindric to ovoid. Spines: per areole 4–11 centrally, 12–33 radially. Flower: 2–3 cm diam, inner perianth ascending or recurved only at tips, ± yellow-green to pale cream-yellow or pale orange, darker midstripe generally well defined; stigma lobes erect to ascending, white or ± green.
2n=22. Limestone soils; 1000–2400 m. Desert Mountains (e San Bernardino Co.); to southwestern Utah, northwestern Arizona. [Escobaria vivipara (Nutt.) Buxb. var. deserti (Engelm.) D.R. Hunt; Coryphantha deserti (Engelm.) Britton & Rose; Coryphantha vivipara (Nutt.) Britton & Rose var. deserti (Engelm.) W.T. Marshall; Escobaria deserti (Engelm.) Buxb.; Mammillaria deserti Engelm.] Apr–May [Online Interchange] {CNPS list}
Unabridged note: Fresh flowers or reliable flower data required to distinguish Coryphantha chlorantha from Coryphantha vivipara var. rosea when growing together.

Previous taxon: Coryphantha alversonii
Next taxon: Coryphantha vivipara var. rosea


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Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2013. Jepson eFlora,, accessed on Dec 1 2015
Citation for this treatment: [Author of taxon treatment] 2013. Coryphantha, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on Dec 1 2015

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Geographic subdivisions indicated for the distribution of Coryphantha chlorantha Markers link to CCH specimen records. If the markers are obscured, reload the page [or change window size and reload]. Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues.
map of distribution 1
(Note: any qualifiers in the taxon distribution description, such as 'northern', 'southern', 'adjacent' etc., are not reflected in the map above, and in some cases indication of a taxon in a subdivision is based on a single collection or author-verified occurence).

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Data provided by the participants of the Consortium of California Herbaria.
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CCH collections by month

Duplicates counted once; synonyms included.
Species do not include records of infraspecific taxa.
Blue line denotes eFlora flowering time.