Espostoa lanata


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Espostoa lanata
Species Authority: (Kunth) Britton & Rose
Common Name(s):
English Cotton Ball Cactus, Snowball Cactus, Peruvian Old Man, Snowball Old Man
Cactus lanatus Kunth
Taxonomic Notes: Four subspecies are recognized, the nominate form, subsp. huanucoensis (F.Ritter) G.J.Charles, subsp. lanianuligera (F.Ritter) G.J.Charles and subsp. ruficeps (F.Ritter) G.J.Charles.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2013
Date Assessed: 2011-05-05
Assessor(s): Ostalaza, C. & Loaiza, C.
Reviewer(s): Superina, M. & Goettsch, B.K.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Abba, A.M. & Superina, M.
Espostoa lanata has a wide range, stable populations, and is not exposed to any major threat. It is therefore classified as Least Concern.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Espostoa lanata is found in the departments of Azuay and Loja, Ecuador, and the Peruvian regions of Amazonas, Áncash, Cajamarca, Huánuco, Lambayeque and Piura (Hunt et al. 2006). It grows at 500 to 2,000 meters above sea level.
Ecuador (Ecuador (mainland)); Peru
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: It is a common species.
Population Trend: Stable

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Due to its wide range, it occurs in different habitat types. It grows in inter-Andean valleys, thorny desert matorral and dry forest.
Systems: Terrestrial

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: Woolly hairs from Espostoa lanata are used for pillow filling in Peru (Anderson 2001).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Removing the woolly hair from the lateral cephalia may interfere with flowering, but this needs to be investigated. Other than that, there are no known threats.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: It is not known whether the species occurs in any protected area. The Peruvian protected areas Coto de Caza Sunchubamba, Zona Reservada Chancay Baños, Bosque de Protección Pagaybamba, Parque Nacional Cuterbo, and Santuario Nacional Tabaconas-Namballe lie within its range, but there are no confirmed records from there.

Citation: Ostalaza, C. & Loaiza, C. 2013. Espostoa lanata. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015.2. <>. Downloaded on 30 August 2015.
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