News from the Scientists

A regular blog of short articles featuring new discoveries and research on cacti and other succulents, taken from a range of scientific journals.

If you have any news of publications or articles that might be of interest to BCSS members, and they aren’t featured here, please contact the editor of this page at

Effect of X-rays on Seedling Pigment, Biochemical Profile, and Molecular Variability in Astrophytum spp.

By Licznerski, P.; Lema-Rumińska, J.; Michałowska, E.; Tymoszuk, A.; Winiecki, J. Agronomy 2023, 13, 2732. Ever wondered how these specialist plant breeders get the weird forms of Astrophytum? Read on! Abstract Cacti are important in agricultural economies and one of the most popular horticultural plant groups. The genus Astrophytum is one of the most... View Article

Ceropegia new species

Two New Species of Ceropegia (Apocynaceae) from Tropical Africa

Peter V. Bruyns, Cornelia Klak, Pavel Hanáček, Haseltonia, 29(1):57-66 (2023). The exciting discovery of two new Ceropegias: Ceropegia pseudolugardiae Bruyns from Kenya and Tanzania, and C. lubangoensis Bruyns from Angola. C. pseudolugardiae is closely related to C. lugardiae, but the roots are quite different. C. lubangoensis has distinctive elongated flowers. The abstract can be... View Article

Annals of Botany

Global change impacts on cacti (Cactaceae): current threats, challenges and conservation solutions

By Kevin R Hultine, Tania Hernández-Hernández, David G Williams, Shannon E Albeke, Newton Tran, Raul Puente, Eugenio Larios Annals of Botany, mcad040, Published: 21 March 2023 A review of threats to cacti growing in arid regions in the light of climate change, focussing on (1) increases in atmospheric CO2 concentrations; (2) increases in mean... View Article

Ethnobotany front cover

Ethnobotanical Uses and Potential Pharmaceutical Applications of the Cactaceae Family

Torres, C.A., Zamora, C.M.P., Nuñez, M.P. & Gonzales, A.M., 2023. In: Martinez et al (eds.): Ethnobotany: from the Traditional to Ethnopharmacology. CRC Press, Florida. Published in February 2023, this book can be viewed free on Google Books. Chapter 3 deals with the medicinal and other chemical uses of cacti, and is a fascinating read. Who... View Article

Agave americana

Uses, Knowledge and Extinction Risk Faced by Agave Species in Mexico

Cecilia Alducin-Martínez, Karen Y. Ruiz Mondragón , Ofelia Jiménez-Barrón, Erika Aguirre-Planter, Jaime Gasca-Pineda, Luis E. Eguiarte and Rodrigo A. Medellin. Plants 2023, 12(1), 124; A comprehensive new list of all 168 Mexican Agave species together with the main threats they face and their conservation status. The report is freely downloadable as a pdf and... View Article

Mammillaria magnimamma

Mating system of a Mammillaria magnimamma (Cactaceae) population of the semi-arid central Mexican region

Alicia Callejas-Chavero , Sonia Sanchez-Serano , Arturo Flores-Martínez , Amelia Cornejo-Romero Journal of Arid Environments 209 (2023) 104885 0140-1963/© 2022 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license ( Propagation of our plants is something that most of us are concerned with, and we know that... View Article

Opuntia stricta photo by John Tann

Prospects for the biological control of the invasive cactus, Opuntia stricta using Dactylopius opuntiae, under conditions of rising atmospheric CO2

By Nic Venter, Blair W. Cowie and Marcus J. Byrne. Biological Control 176: December 2022, 105095. Opuntia stricta. Photo: John Tann Opuntia stricta is a problem in South Africa, where it is invasive. It can be controlled with a scale insect, Dactylopius opuntiae. However, increased CO2 in the atmosphere (due to global warming and... View Article

Potential of succulents for eczema-associated symptoms

By Marizé Nel, Analike Blom van Staden, Danielle Twilley, Carel B. Oosthuizen, Debra Meyer, Siva Kumar, Masilamani E. Sobhia, Judey Pretorius, Namrita Lall South African Journal of Botany, Volume 147, July 2022, Pages 1105-1111. Aloe species have long been known to have beneficial impacts on health. The authors looked at 22 Aloe plant extracts from... View Article

A Systematic Review on Opuntia (Cactaceae; Opuntioideae) Flower-Visiting Insects in the World with Emphasis on Mexico: Implications for Biodiversity Conservation

by Perla Tenorio-Escandón, Alfredo Ramírez-Hernández, Joel Flores, Jorge Juan-Vicedo and Ana Paola Martínez-Falcón. In Plants 2022, 11(1), 131. The authors looked at Opuntia species, mainly in Mexico. Despite the commercial importance of these species, relatively little is known about their insect pollinators. A key set of important species was identified, and a complete checklist of... View Article

A compendium of vivipary in the Cactaceae: new reports, data, and research prospects

By J. Hugo-Cota-Sánchez. Brazilian Journal of Botany volume 45, pages 1001–1027 (2022) An article reviewing all the current research into this interesting phenomenon in some cacti. Vivpary is “live birth”, normally more usually applied to animals. For example, a viviparous lizard is one which does not lay eggs like other lizard species, but gives birth to live... View Article

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