The Cactus File Handbook 2: Rebutia

by John Pilbeam

This popular and colourful Handbook discusses all the described species and varieties of Rebutia, with full colour photographs throughout. It includes a full description of each plant, along with details of habitat, distribution, classification, cultivation, pests and diseases, and general information about the plant in cultivation, along with an invaluable reference list of synonymous names.

In this book the author, John Pilbeam, does not attempt to evaluate too stridently the validity of all of the new species and varieties described in recent years, but instead illustrates with photographs of authenticated material as many of the descriptions as possible, to show what is potentially available, to help identify plants in collections, and to give some idea of the extent of the genus, and species' relationships. The author views Rebutia in the old sense, rather than including those species that have been amalgamated from Sulcorebutia by some authors.

In the main chapter, the 'Commentary on Species', each of the recognized species and varieties is discussed in detail, with full colour illustrations of the plants growing and flowering in cultivation. For identification purposes alone, this Handbook is unrivalled. Individual maps show the recorded habitat distribution for each of the taxa.

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

Geography and Taxonomy – The genus is split into 3 subgenera, Rebutia, Aylostera and Mediolobivia. Maps show the overall distribution of the species in each of these subgenera. These plants are all native to Argentina and Bolivia, and lists are included of the States of Argentina and the Departments of Bolivia, showing which species are recorded from each.

Cultivation – The basic methods of cultivation are discussed, with information on light, compost, temperatures, watering, potting, propagation, and pests.

Classification – The classification of this large group of plants has caused controversy in the past, and continues to do so. In 1959, in Die Cactaceae, Backeberg favoured 3 genera for the plants: Rebutia, Aylostera and Mediolobivia. In 1963 Albert Buining and John Donald amalgamated Backeberg's 3 genera into one – Rebutia – but divided it into 2 subgenera, Rebutia and Aylostera, and further divided into 6 sections. The author of this Handbook accepts 3 subgenera, as detailed above; a full list of the species allocated to each of the subgenera is included.

IOS/CITES Classification Proposals – The somewhat radical proposals of the 1992 CITES Cactaceae Checklist are discussed, in which 19 species of Rebutia are 'accepted' (excluding Sulcorebutia species), with a further 9 listed as 'provisionally accepted'. The author's discussion of these proposals are included in the main discussion of each species within the 'Commentary on Species'.

Superfluous or dubious names and Hybrids – An extensive listing of superfluous and synonymous names provides a valuable reference source, and brings together for the first time the broad range of names published (and mis-published!) for this genus in the past.

Field Collectors' Numbers – Field collection data from the most prolific and active of field collectors of Rebutia are published, including those of Walter Rausch, Friedrich Ritter, Alfred Lau, Mats Winberg, and Karel Knize, along with details of the introductions of the ISI.

Never before has there been such a complete source of detailed information on Rebutia. This Handbook is a must, both for Rebutia enthusiasts and general cactus growers, providing a comprehensive and colourful reference source on one of the most popular genera of South American cacti. This Handbook is available in two editions – hardbound and softbound.

See our Ordering Information page to place your order.

(Published 1997) ISBN 0 9528302 1 3 (hardbound); ISBN 0 9528302 2 1 (softbound).

160 pages, 165 x 235mm.
Illustrated in full-colour throughout, with 140 colour photographs. 126 distribution maps

UK Price: Softbound - was £29.50, promotional price £25.00 (post free).
UK Price: Hardbound - was £38.00, promotional price £34.00 (post free).
Rest of world price: Softbound - was £31.00, promotional price £26.50 (post free).
Rest of world price: Hardbound - was £39.50, promotional price £35.50 (post free).

Top of page

Last updated:


Press Inquiries/Webmaster Contact:
Bill Allen

(516) 486-3902
2480 Lawn Drive, #2
East Meadow, NY 11554