CPC Plant Profile: Nellie Cory Cactus
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Plant Profile

Nellie Cory Cactus (Escobaria minima)

The dense yellow spines and rose-purple flowers of Coryphantha minima. Photo Credit: Lynda Pritchett-Kozak
Description
  • Global Rank: G1 - Critically Imperiled
  • Legal Status: Federally Endangered
  • Family: Cactaceae
  • State: TX
  • Nature Serve ID: 129850
  • Date Inducted in National Collection: 01/01/1985

The Nellie Cory Cactus, Coryphantha minima, was listed as endangered on November 7, 1979. The plants are small, round, up to 2.5 cm tall, and 1.2 cm in diameter, densely spied with yellowish spines. Flowers are rose-purple, and up to 1.cm tall, in May. Fruits are green and fleshy when ripe.

Participating Institutions
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Updates
  • 09/10/2020
  • Tissue Culture

Currently, little research has been accomplished on C. minima, due to blanket denial of access to the site. Efforts have been made to form an association with a nearby land manager who does have permission to access the site. Little quantitative data has been obtained so far. Plants in cultivation began to flower in mid-May and continued to flower through June. Controlled cross-pollinations were attempted, but no fruits resulted. One of the plants flowered that had been tissue-cultured at ASU and received at Desert Botanical Garden on 3 March 1995.

  • 09/10/2020
  • Living Collection

The Desert Botanical Garden has been unable to visit other potential sites, and the conservation collection consists of only 7 genetic individuals, 12 field-collected seeds, and 1,910 seeds produced in cultivation. Desert Botanical Garden has 37 Coryphantha minima clones that were produced through tissue culture of 2 seeds. Initially, the tiny plants were undifferentiated tissue, and did not resemble Coryphantha minima. The plants have grown and individual heads can be now be distinguished. Two of these plants flowered for the first time in 1997. Cross-pollination was attempted, but no fruit resulted.

  • 09/10/2020
  • Reproductive Research

Desert Botanical Garden has 37 Coryphantha minima clones that were produced through tissue culture of 2 seeds. Initially, the tiny plants were undifferentiated tissue, and did not resemble Coryphantha minima. The plants have grown and individual heads can be now be distinguished. Two of these plants flowered for the first time in 1997. Cross-pollination was attempted, but no fruit resulted

  • 09/10/2020
  • Tissue Culture

Desert Botanical Garden has 37 Coryphantha minima clones that were produced through tissue culture of 2 seeds. Initially, the tiny plants were undifferentiated tissue, and did not resemble Coryphantha minima. The plants have grown and individual heads can be now be distinguished. Two of these plants flowered for the first time in 1997. Cross-pollination was attempted, but no fruit resulted

  • 09/10/2020
  • Orthodox Seed Banking

The Desert Botanical Garden has been unable to visit other potential sites, and the conservation collection consists of only 7 genetic individuals, 12 field-collected seeds, and 1,910 seeds produced in cultivation.

  • 09/10/2020
  • Seed Collection

The Desert Botanical Garden has been unable to visit other potential sites, and the conservation collection consists of only 7 genetic individuals, 12 field-collected seeds, and 1,910 seeds produced in cultivation.

Nature Serve Biotics
  • 05/02/2017

Known from only 3 populations, all in a tiny area of Brewster County, Texas. Highly threatened by collectors.

Kathleen C. Rice
  • 01/01/2010

Collection is the threat that most affects Coryphantha minima, but this threat is mitigated by militantly protective landowners who do not allow non-locals to access the land (USFWS 1979, 1984). Overgrazing does not impact C. minima, as the habitat is ex

Kathleen C. Rice
  • 01/01/2010

There are apparently three known populations, none of which can be accessed currently, numbers of individuals per population, demographic information, or direction of trends are not known (USFWS 1984).

Kathleen C. Rice
  • 01/01/2010

Currently, little research has been accomplished on C. minima, due to blanket denial of access to the site. Efforts have been made to form an association with a nearby land manager who does have permission to access the site. Little quantitative data has been obtained so far. Plants in cultivation began to flower in mid-May and continued to flower through June. Controlled cross-pollinations were attempted, but no fruits resulted. One of the plants flowered that had been tissue-cultured at ASU and received at Desert Botanical Garden on 3 March 1995. Plants were periodically sprayed with a dilute solution of Marathon to prevent spider mite infestation.

Kathleen C. Rice
  • 01/01/2010

Land is managed in the style of the most land associated with the Trans-Pecos Heritage Association (relatively heavily grazed).

Kathleen C. Rice
  • 01/01/2010

Additional information of every kind is needed. Because of the difficulties in accessing plants located on the Caballos-Novaculite formation which lies primarily on privately owned land, little is known about population trends of Coryphantha minima in the wild. It is possible that populations of this talon are stable and the plant may become a candidate for de-listing; without surveys to determine the approximate distribution and numbers of populations, the species may remain on the Endangered Species list indefinitely. There is a critical need to recollect seed from wild populations located on private land, as the twelve field-collected seeds held by the Desert Botanical Garden are now twelve years old.

Kathleen C. Rice
  • 01/01/2010

The Desert Botanical Garden has been unable to visit other potential sites, and the conservation collection consists of only 7 genetic individuals, 12 field-collected seeds, and 1,910 seeds produced in cultivation. Desert Botanical Garden has 37 Coryphantha minima clones that were produced through tissue culture of 2 seeds. Initially, the tiny plants were undifferentiated tissue, and did not resemble Coryphantha minima. The plants have grown and individual heads can be now be distinguished. Two of these plants flowered for the first time in 1997. Cross-pollination was attempted, but no fruit resulted.

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Photos
Nomenclature
Taxon Escobaria minima
Authority (Baird) D.R. Hunt
Family Cactaceae
CPC Number 1081
ITIS 502450
USDA ESMI2
Common Names Nellie Cory cactus | birdfoot cactus | small coryphantha
Associated Scientific Names Coryphantha minima | Escobaria minima | Coryphantha nellieae | Escobaria nellieae | Mammillaria nellieae
Distribution It is widely believed that there is a greater number of plants than is currently known, and additional information on the distribution and population numbers of this species may result in desisting (U
State Rank
State State Rank
Texas S1
Habitat

Plants are restricted to desert grassland on the Caballos-Novaculite limestone formation which is located primarily on privately-owned land in west Texas (USFWS 1979, 1984). Only one known site has been accessed. Little is known about population trends in the wild.

Ecological Relationships

Plants flowering in cultivation do not self-pollinate.

Pollinators
Common Name Name in Text Association Type Source InteractionID
Other
Insect Confirmed Pollinator Link
Reintroduction
Lead Institution State Reintroduction Type Year of First Outplanting

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