Cactaceae at


This Cactaceae checklist was compiled from literature and online sources using the tools of the EDIT Platform for Cybertaxonomy ( The data also form a contribution for the World Flora Online (WFO) initiative (

The checklist follows phylogeny-based taxonomic treatments as far as they are available; otherwise, appropriate classical or conventional taxonomic works are used as the basis. The database created as the result of the aforementioned work is the first comprehensive treatment of the entire family that attempts to consistently document and attribute taxonomic concepts at the species and infraspecific levels.

The general approach to compiling this checklist and the editorial guidelines are described in detail in the main article (citation below). 

As a joint community effort within the Caryophyllales Network, the taxonomic backbone for Cactaceae will be continuously updated according to newly published results of phylogenetic and taxonomic research.

Checklist structure and statistics 

The checklist is divided into the “Core checklist” of accepted genera, species and infraspecies, and into 5 “pseudotaxa” - collections of names that were not included in the core for various reasons. The pseudotaxa encompass:

Hybrids: names of artificial hybrids (natural hybrids are listed in the core checklist). No attempt was made to completely compile all effectively published hybrid or horticultural names. Natural hybrids were included in the core checklist, and names of artificial hybrids were listed separately, but only if they appeared in the World Flora Online or Kew WCVP datasets. Admittedly this is still somewhat inconsistent, with artificial hybrids sometimes also listed in the core checklist.

Names of uncertain application, including nomina nuda

Unplaced taxa or incertae sedis:species or subspecies that should probably be accepted, but their placement in a genus is not clear.

Unresolved names: including all further names that could not be assigned to one of the preceding categories

Excluded names that could be positively excluded for a certain reason, which is given with the name.

A total of 22.308 names are treated (January 2022)

  • 151 accepted genera
  • 1.855 accepted species, 91 hybrid species, 455 heterotypic infraspecific taxa (including 2 hybrids), and 287 infraspecific taxa carrying autonyms.
  • 17.965 synonyms and invalid designations that are clearly attributable to a taxon. 
  • 17 excluded names.

Not treated in the Core Checklist: 

  • 388 names are considered as of uncertain application.
  • 672 names (incl. 151 synonyms) are unresolved.
  • 454 names are found in the separate list of hybrid names. 

Names of subfamilies, tribes and infrageneric groups (with few exceptions in the homotypic synonymy) are currently not included.

Additional taxonomic data, such as morphological descriptions, identification keys, distribution data, as well as additional nomenclatural information, such as types and type image links for species and infraspecific taxa or names, and sources of the nomenclatural status are so far only available for some taxa and will be added continuously.

Secundum references

The backbone classification follows phylogeny-based taxonomic treatments as far as they are available; otherwise, appropriate classical or conventional taxonomic works are used as the basis. The classification with respect to the acceptance of taxa follows treatments that were published, in press, or at least submitted during the compilation of the checklist. The taxonomic concept or circumscription of the accepted taxa is indicated by the secundum (“sec.”) reference. For synonyms, the syn-sec.-reference indicates the assignment of the synonym to the concept of either the accepted name or one of its homotypic synonyms; this may or may not be the same reference as that of the taxon’s secundum. However, in the present state of our data, the “sec. reference” in some cases represents the source of a name (particularly when the taxonomic position of that name is not yet clear), or the reference for the placement (especially if the placement resulted in a changed name), or even the reference for the source of a name or taxon under one of the categories excluded from the Core Checklist.


Korotkova N., Aquino D., Arias S., Eggli U., Franck A., Gómez-Hinostrosa C., Guerrero P. C., Hernández H. M., Kohlbecker A., Köhler M., Luther K., Majure L. C., Müller A., Metzing D., Nyffeler R., Sánchez D., Schlumpberger B. & Berendsohn W. G. 2021: Cactaceae at – a dynamic online species-level taxonomic backbone for the family. – Willdenowia 51: 251 – 271. open access DOI: 10.3372/wi.51.51208


The database is hosted at the Botanic Garden and Botanical Museum Berlin

How to cite us: If you want to cite data from this website, use the literature references given with the data, with the addition of “accessed on [date]”