Pereskia Mill. sec. Korotkova 2021

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Pereskia Mill. sec. Korotkova 2021

Pereskia Mill., Gard. Dict. Abr., ed. 4: 1026. 1754 wfo-4000028718
      Nametype: Pereskia aculeata Mill.
  • =Peirescia Zucc. in Abh. Math.-Phys. Cl. Königl. Bayer. Akad. Wiss. 2: 695. 1837 syn. sec. ??? wfo-4000042706
  • =Peireskia K.Schum., Fl. Bras. 4(2): 308. 1890 syn. sec. TROPICOS 1988+1 wfo-4000028445
  • 1. TROPICOS 1988+: Missouri Botanical Garden –
  • =Pereskia sect. Rhodocactus A.Berger, Kakteen: 43. 1929 syn. sec. Hunt 20062 wfo-3400012103
  • Rhodocactus (A.Berger) F.M.Knuth, Nye Kaktusbog: 102. 1930 syn. sec. Hunt 20062 wfo-4000033016
    • Nametype: Rhodocactus grandifolius (Haw.) F.M.Knuth
  • 2. Hunt, D.R. 2006: The New Cactus Lexicon. – Milborne Port: dh books
  • Carpophillus Neck., Elem. Bot. 2: 84. 1790, nom. inval. syn. sec. Kew WCVP (2019)3 wfo-4000042530
  • 3. Kew WCVP (2019)


Pereskia has been repeatedly found to be paraphyletic by Nyffeler (2002), Edwards & al. (2005), and Butterworth & Edwards (2008). The genus forms a grade at the base of the Cactaceae, with a northern clade including Mesoamerican and Caribbean Pereskias as the first branching group followed by a southern clade, with mainly the Andean Pereskias, that also include the nomenclatural type of Pereskia (Butterworth & Wallace 2005; Edwards & al. 2005). No nomenclatural changes to reflect the paraphyly of Pereskia have been proposed by Edwards & al. (2005), who preferred their results to be tested with additional genes before suggesting a new classification for Pereskia. Also, no generic name was readily available for the northern Pereskia clade – the type of earlier-proposed segregate Rhodocactus was in the southern clade together with the type of Pereskia itself. An evolutionary instead of phylogenetic classification for Pereskia was favoured because both Pereskia clades have characters that are interpreted as ancestral within Cactaceae, such as a woody stem, the presence of true leaves, a flower morphology that differs from the rest of the Cactaceae and C3 photosynthesis. Only recently, the northern Pereskias were segregated as Leuenbergeria (Lodé 2013), yet this segregation also received criticism because the two clades are hard to distinguish morphologically (; Hunt 2013). Seeking a compromise between molecular phylogenetic hypotheses and nomenclatural stability, Rowley (2013) suggested a subgenus Leuenbergera (note the different spelling) for the northern Pereskia clade.A,B,C,D,E,F,G,H

Taxon standing

Category B. The genus is monophyletic based on phylogenetic studies that support the clade based on a sufficiently dense or even complete sampling, or support a monotypic genus as a distinct lineage, but do not provide a new taxonomic treatment at the species level. In many cases, older classical taxonomic synopses or a monographic treatment exist for these genera providing a reliable assessment of the species included.


Compiled by Nadja Korotkova


A. Butterworth, C. A. & Edwards, E.J. 2008: Investigating Pereskia and the earliest divergences in Cactaceae. – Haseltonia 14: 46-53.
B. Butterworth, C. A. & Wallace, R.S. 2005: Molecular phylogenetics of the leafy cactus genus Pereskia (Cactaceae). – Systematic Botany 30(4): 800-808
C. Edwards, E.J., Nyffeler, R. & Donoghue, M.J. 2005: Basal cactus phylogeny: Implications of Pereskia (Cactaceae) paraphyly for the transition to the cactus life form. – American Journal of Botany 92(7): 1177-1188.
D. Hernández-Ledesma, P., Berendsohn, W. G., Borsch, T., von Mering, S., Akhani, H., Arias, S., Castañeda-Noa, I., Eggli, U., Eriksson, R., Flores-Olvera, H., Fuentes-Bazán, S., Kadereit, G., Klak, C., Korotkova, N., Nyffeler, R., Ocampo, G. & Ochoterena, H. 2015: A taxonomic backbone for the global synthesis of species diversity in the angiosperm order Caryophyllales. – Willdenowia 45(3): 281-383.
E. Hunt, D.R. 2013: Pereskia. – Cactaceae Systematics Initiatives 31: 16-17
F. Lodé, J. 2013: Leuenbergeria, a new genus in Cactaceae. – Cactus-aventures International 97: 25-27
G. Nyffeler, R. 2002: Phylogenetic relationships in the cactus family (Cactaceae) based on evidence from trnK/matK and trnL-trnF sequences. – American Journal of Botany 89(2): 312-326
H. Rowley, G. D. 2013: Pereskia - one genus or two?. – Cactaceae Systematics Initiatives 32: 6-7