Melocactus violaceus

Melocactus violaceus in culture

Melocactus violaceus is a species of the genus Melocactus in the cactus family ( Cactaceae ). The specific epithet violaceus means violet colored '.


Melocactus violaceus growing with dark green bodies, reach stature heights between 5 and 20 cm in diameter and 6-20 centimeters. There are 5 to 15 fins available. The very slender spines are brown, have a darker tip and are often tinged with gray. Central spines are not present. The 5-8 straight or slightly curved spines reach lengths of 1.4 to 2.4 centimeters. The lowest are to 3 inches long. The cephalium formed from bright red, fine bristles and abundant white wool is up to 6 centimeters high ( often higher) and reached a diameter from 3.5 to 8.5 centimeters.

The deep pink flowers stand out clearly from the cephalium. They are 1.5 to 2.5 inches long, and have diameters of 6 to 14 millimeters. The light pink to dark pink to lilac - pink or white fruits are 1.2 to 1.9 inches long.

Systematics, distribution and hazard

Melocactus violaceus is widespread in northeastern Brazil.

The first description was in 1835 by Ludwig Georg Karl Pfeiffer.

We distinguish the following sub- types:

  • Melocactus violaceus subsp. violaceus
  • Melocactus violaceus subsp. margaritaceus N.P.Taylor
  • Melocactus violaceus subsp. ritteri N.P.Taylor

Melocactus violaceus is on the Red List of Threatened Species IUCN as " Vulnerable (VU) ," ie, endangered classified. This was in 2002 for the subspecies Melocactus violaceus subsp. violaceus and Melocactus violaceus subsp. margaritaceus. Melocactus violaceus subsp. ritteri was, however, as " Critically Endangered (CR ) ', ie threatened with extinction. In the 2010 update, the subspecies were not re-evaluated and removed from the red list.