|Scientific Name:||Echinocactus grusonii|
|Taxonomic Notes:||Accepted as a valid species by Anderson (2001) and Hunt et al. (2006).|
|Red List Category & Criteria:||Endangered B1ab(v) ver 3.1|
|Assessor(s):||Guadalupe Martínez, J., Sánchez , E. & Gómez-Hinostrosa, C.|
|Reviewer(s):||Goettsch, B.K., Superina, M., Schipper, J. & Hilton-Taylor, C.|
|Contributor(s):||Fitz Maurice, W.A.|
Echinocactus grusonii is currently listed as Endangered, considering the subpopulation recently found in Zacatecas, the species has an extent of occurrence of approximately 4,500 km2 and there are two to four locations and it can also be considered severely fragmented (genetic exchange between the two subpopulations is very unlikely). Even though the new subpopulation has thousands of individuals, there is continuing decline in the number of mature individuals due to illegal collection, as it is a very sought after species. Field surveys of the new subpopulation are necessary in order to establish its size, trends, and any threats that might be affecting it.
|Range Description:||There are currently two disjunct subpopulations of this species. The small subpopulation in Querétaro occurs on medium to steep slopes of volcanic rock near Mesa de Léon in a very small area (extent of occurrence is 25 km² and the area of occupancy is less than 10 km²). A new subpopulation has recently been discovered in Zacatecas (not shown on the species' range map to protect it), which is much larger. It grows at altitudes between 1,400 and 1,900 m asl.|
Native:Mexico (Querétaro, Zacatecas)
|Range Map:||Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.|
|Population:||The total number of plants in the Querétaro subpopulation is estimated to be less than 1,000, the majority of which are mature. The Zacatecas subpopulation is estimated to comprise several thousand mature individuals. W.A. Fitz-Maurice (pers. comm. 2009) says the number is probably close to 10,000.|
|Habitat and Ecology:||This cactus grows in semi-desert matorral, among volcanic rocks or calcareous soil on medium to steep slopes. Generation length is 10 years.|
|Use and Trade:||This species is collected illegally as an ornamental, and fruits are consumed by humans as a source of water.|
|Major Threat(s):||Illegal collecting of the plants for the horticultural trade is the main threat to Echinocactus grusonii. Subpopulations were destroyed in the past through the construction of dams, particularly the Zimapán dam and reservoir built in the 1990s.|
The species is listed on CITES Appendix II, but the laws governing imports in the countries of destination need to be enforced. This is one of the most widely propagated cacti, with literally millions of individuals grown by commercial nurseries and hobbyists, thus making it very readily available throughout the world, but that does not stop the ongoing poaching. There is a need for further research in natural history and ecology and trends in collection and harvest (especially of juveniles) of the species. Both Botanic Gardens of Querétaro and Cadereyta Regional Botanic Garden have propagated the species extensively and run environmental education programmes to promote its conservation.
The Botanic Gardens of Querétaro are developing an in vitro procedure, with which they obtain proliferation of 5x/4 week and 95% soil adaptation (E. Sánchez pers. comm. 2010).
This species is legally protected in Mexico by the national list of species at risk of extinction, NOM-059-SEMARNAT-2010, where it is listed under category “at risk of extinction” (P; SEMARNAT 2010).
|Citation:||Guadalupe Martínez, J., Sánchez , E. & Gómez-Hinostrosa, C. 2013. Echinocactus grusonii. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 30 September 2014.|
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