The Cactus File Handbook 4: Copiapoa

by Graham Charles

This Handbook is the first specialist, English-language publication to cover all the known species of Copiapoa. Restricted to the arid conditions of the coastline of northern Chile, members of the genus Copiapoa have adapted to survive in some of the most inhospitable of all known cactus habitats.

The 80-page Handbook includes 34 distribution maps and 106 colour photographs, illustrating in colour all of the recognized species and varieties, with pictures showing the plants growing both in the wild and in cultivation. This shows clearly the physical differences between plants growing in habitat in Chile, and those in cultivation in Europe. In cultivation the epidermis may be a different colour than in habitat, spine development can be much weaker, and even the shape of the plant stem can be deceptively different, with some species showing a tendency to elongate in cultivation. Such factors can make identification difficult, but the inclusion of photographs of so many plants in cultivation, alongside pictures of the same species growing in habitat, provides enthusiasts of these highly desirable plants with an unrivalled aid to the identification of the plants in their collection.

Alongside the illustrations, in the 'Commentary on Species' (the main chapter of the book), all aspects of the plants are discussed in detail, including a full description, details of variation, observations of wild populations and environmental pressures, cultural guidelines, details of synonyms, etc. Individual maps showing the recorded habitat distributions for each species and variety are included too.

The Handbook also includes a number of additional chapters, including:

Introduction to Copiapoa – Details of the history of the genus, from the discovery and introduction of the first species – described originally as Echinocactus – to the erection of the genus in 1922 by Britton and Rose. Reviews of the genus by subsequent authors are discussed, including Curt Backeberg, Friedrich Ritter (who published 26 new species in this genus alone!), Nigel Taylor, and Adriana Hoffmann. This chapter includes a discussion of the diagnostic characters of the genus.

Environmental conditions of Copiapoa habitats – The coastal area of Chile, where all Copiapoas occur, is becoming more arid, and many of the plants struggle to survive in the harsh conditions. Were it not for the regular, dense fogs, these plants may not be able to survive at all. The general geography, topography and climate are discussed, and the ways in which the plants have evolved to withstand prolonged periods without rain.

Cultivation – The basic requirements of the plants in cultivation are discussed, with information on soil, water, feeding, light, temperature, potting, and pests.

Checklist of names – A checklist of Copiapoa names provides a quick reference to which are the correct names, and which are considered to be synonyms.

Field collectors' numbers – Field collection numbers of Copiapoa are listed for the following collectors: Graham Charles, Roger Ferryman, Tom Jenkins, Fred Kattermann, Karel Knize, Alfred Lau, Ken Preston-Mafham, and Friedrich Ritter.

This exciting and long-awaited Handbook is written by Graham Charles, one of the UK's leading growers of South American cacti. The genus Copiapoa is sure to enjoy a new wave of popularity with the publication of this colourful and authoritative Handbook.

See our Ordering Information page to place your order.

(Published 1998) ISBN 0 9528302 5 6 (hardbound), ISBN 0 9528302 6 4 (softbound).

80 pages, 165 x 235mm.
Illustrated in full-colour throughout, with over 106 colour photographs. 34 distribution maps.

Hardbound edition: .50 UK, rest of world (post free).
Softbound edition: .50 UK, rest of world (post free)

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