Alvarez Aguirre, Maria Guadalupe; Montaña, Carlos
September 1997
Acta Botanica Mexicana;1997, Issue 40, p43
Academic Journal
Germination and establishment of five cacti species growing in the Valley of Zapotitlán de las Salinas (Puebla) were studied. The species, all endemic to Mexico and whose saplings and juveniles are used as ornamental plants, were Cephalocereus chrysacanthus, Cephalocereus hoppenstedtii, Ferocactus latispinus, Stenocereus stellatus and Wilcoxia viperina. Aiming to develop conservative management practices, the objective of the work was to assess if the establishment requirements of the species could be provided by simple cultivation methods that can be economically and technologically affordable by local peasants. Six treatments were applied to the seeds in order to simulate the passage by the digestive tract of vertebrates (chemical attack) and the abrasive effects of water or wind transport (mechanical abrasion). C. chrysacanthus had the lowest germination percentage (36%), whereas the other four species averaged 79%. Any of the treatments yielded higher germination percentages than the untreated control. In contrast, mechanical abrasion almost halved those percentages. Seedling establishment was assessed in an 11-month period simulating the conditions of two microhabitats (open spaces and dense shrub cover) with a factorial design including two soil types (soil collected from open spaces and soil collected beneath the canopy of the shrub Mimosa luisana) and two light conditions (light from open spaces and light from a shadow-house). Winter conditions severely affected C. chrysacanthus and S. stellatus in the shadow-house, and decimated completely C. hoppenstedtii in both light conditions. W. viperina had a higher final survival (65%) than the other 3 species (18.33% on average). Survival of the four species was lower (25% on average) in the shadow-house than under the light conditions of the open spaces (35% on average). It was also lower in soils collected beneath the canopy of M. luisana (24.25% on average) than in soils of open spaces (34.75% on average). It is concluded that cultivation by local peasants under low-technology practices is viable for four out of the five species studied, and opens a realistic alternative for ex situ conservation and for lowering the collect pressure over in situ populations.


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