CPC Plant Profile: Button Cactus
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Plant Profile

Button Cactus (Epithelantha bokei)

This round little cactus is covered so densely with closely appressed hair-spines that plants appear completely white. Photo Credit: Lynda Pritchett-Kozak
Description
  • Global Rank: T3 - Vulnerable
  • Legal Status: N/A
  • Family: Cactaceae
  • State: MX, TX
  • Nature Serve ID: 149906
  • Date Inducted in National Collection: 02/25/1988

Epithelantha bokei is a beautiful, low growing cactus covered so densely with hair-spines that plants appear completely white. These cacti are partially submerged in the ground, with 2-3 cm of stem height above ground level (Correll and Johnson 1970). During drought periods, plants draw back down to ground level to conserve moisture. Flowers are a pale pink, very delicate and appear in July. Fruits are smooth, approximately 1 cm long and bright red.

Participating Institutions
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Updates
  • 09/09/2020
  • Orthodox Seed Banking

Desert Botanical Garden has over 100 of these plants in cultivation and has produced 2,000 seeds from these plants. (Desert Botanical Garden 2000)

  • 09/09/2020
  • Living Collection

Desert Botanical Garden has over 100 of these plants in cultivation and has produced 2,000 seeds from these plants. (Desert Botanical Garden 2000)

  • 09/09/2020
  • Seed Collection

Desert Botanical Garden has over 100 of these plants in cultivation and has produced 2,000 seeds from these plants. (Desert Botanical Garden 2000)

Nature Serve Biotics
  • 05/02/2017

Four locations in the Chihuahuan Desert in Texas and Mexico.

Kathleen C. Rice
  • 01/01/2010

Threats to known occurrences include illegal collection and habitat degradation due to overgrazing and development (USFWS 1983).

Kathleen C. Rice
  • 01/01/2010

At this time, only sixteen sites have been documented (USFWS 1983).

Kathleen C. Rice
  • 01/01/2010

Desert Botanical Garden has over 100 of these plants in cultivation and has produced 2,000 seeds from these plants. (Desert Botanical Garden 2000)

Kathleen C. Rice
  • 01/01/2010

Management strategy varies from restriction of access to populations on private land, to none. Plants at Big Bend National Park have suffered the recent impacts of illegal collecting.

Kathleen C. Rice
  • 01/01/2010

Additional surveys for new or historical populations are needed, especially in Mexico.

Kathleen C. Rice
  • 01/01/2010

More plants should be offered through horticultural trade to reduce wild collection pressure.

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Photos
Nomenclature
Taxon Epithelantha bokei
Authority L. Benson
Family Cactaceae
CPC Number 1610
ITIS 19793
USDA EPBO
Common Names button-cactus | Boke's button cactus | Biznaga-blanca de Boquillas | pingpong-ball cactus
Associated Scientific Names Epithelantha bokei | Epithelantha micromeris var. bokei
Distribution Plants occurrences are scattered throughout the Brewster/Sanderson County area.
State Rank
State State Rank
Mexico *FR83
Texas S3
Habitat

Plants can be found in locally dense groups on rocky, gravelly rounded limestone hilltops (USFWS 1983). Plants favor rocky, gravelly soils on flat areas (USFWS 1983).

Ecological Relationships

Plants are associated closely with soil derived from only two or three types of specific limestone substrate (USFWS 1983).

Pollinators
Common Name Name in Text Association Type Source InteractionID
Reintroduction
Lead Institution State Reintroduction Type Year of First Outplanting

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