List of Books & Journals of interest to Turbophiles

For those of us whose native language is English, the list of sources for information on our favourite plants is quite sparse. So it is a good excuse to start to learn a new language. I have given a basic help file on translating from German, Spanish and French to English in the main cactus section which may get you started.

This list is by no means meant to be a definitive list of Turbinicarpus literature, I have only listed either Books, Field number lists or Journals that I have myself. If you see any glaring omissions or mistakes then please Let Me Know.

The best source I have found of new or Second-hand books is Whitestone Gardens Ltd. They will also arrange subscriptions to some of the journals listed.


Knowing, understanding and growing Turbinicarpus-Rapicactus by Davide Donati & Carlo Zanovello
English with full descriptions. (Also available in German and Italian editions). 2005.
This is a large (21.5 x 30.5 cm) format book dedicated to all of the Turbinicarpus, Gymnocactus, and Rapicactus species. It has 254 pages and over 360 colour photos. Each taxon is given a couple of pages of text, with a very detailed description table listing all of the relevant details and are illustrated with many habitat photos.
Being the most recently written book on the subject it contains information on more taxa than any of the other books listed here. At the end of the book it also gives some information on some undescribed taxa found by the authors.
Also included are a full identification key, an hypothesis of their evolution cultivation details. If you only buy one Turbinicarpus book make sure it is this one, you will not be disappointed.
Home Page:
The genus Turbinicarpus in San Luis Potosí by the Grupo San Luis
English with full descriptions in English and Latin. 2004.
The Grupo San Luis was established to make a scientific study the Cactaceae of the state of San Luis Potosí. This means the book is written by people who know the plants and have firsthand knowledge of their habitat.
From the title of the book it is limited to the species found in the state of San Luis Potosí, so not all taxa are covered, but that shouldn't put you off as this is probably the best Turbinicarpus book published so far.
Each taxon is a illustrated with copious habitat photographs. Latin and English descriptions are included together with full details of the plants habitat, distribution and conservation status. A section on cultivation is also included written by Alessandro Mosco. Get this book!
The Genus Turbinicarpus by M. Zachar. Edited by Igor Dráb
English with full descriptions in English and Latin. 2005.

This is a larger format, updated and greatly expanded version of the following book. It now includes full details of all Turbinicarpus species including those previously treated as Gymnocactus. Full of wonderful habitat photographs of all included species, graphs showing rainfall and temperature of their habitats, and also a list of field collection numbers. In addition a full bibliography reference has been supplied by the leading Turbinicarpus expert, Anton Hofer. This alone is a major reason to get this book. We Turbophiles have been waiting for a book of this quality for a very long time.

However, there is a slight problem. And boy is it a stinker! "Somehow" the creators of the book seem to have plagerised this site as the source for almost all of the English descriptions and not an insignificant amount of their notes. Without asking permission or giving any credit in the book. The best example of this is illustrated by page 78 on T. polaskii and when compared with the page on T. polaskii on this site it is quite obvious that someone knows how to use "Ctrl-c" and "Ctrl-v". I will leave it up to the reader to decide whether this book is worth purchasing

I have added a page to illustrate the plagiarism if you would like further information.

Rod Turbinicarpus by M Zachar, R. Staník A. Lux and I. Dráb.
Czech with descriptions in Latin and the language of the original description. 1996.
This is an excellent source of information on Turbinicarpus excluding Gymnocactus, contains many colour habitat photographs.
Las Cactáceas De México by Helia Bravo-Hollis and Hernando Sánchez-Mejorada.
Spanish. 1991.
Contains detailed descriptions of all of the species known up till then. Many colour and black and white photos.
Die Cactaceae -- Band 5 by Curt Backeberg.
German. 1961.
Descriptions and commentary on many Turbinicarpus species. Contains many black and white photographs. An important source.
Kakteen Lexikon by Curt Backeberg.
German. 1966.
This is a source of descriptions of most of the Turbinicarpus species known at that time.
Cactus Lexicon by Curt Backeberg.
English. 1977.
English translation, by Lois Glass, of above. I find it very interesting to read Backeberg's comments on the various Genera etc.
Bradleya 4, 1986.
English. 1986.
This contains Edward F. Anderson's transferral of Turbinicarpus to Neolloydia, full descriptions, distribution maps and photos.
Guide to the identification of threatened cacti of México, volume 1.
Spanish and English. 1998.
This contains descriptions, distribution maps, photos etc. of each taxa on a single page in a ring binder.
Handbook for the identification of the Cactaceae included in the Appendix I of the CITIES.
English (Italian version available). 1989.
Originally published as a supplement to the Italian cactus journal Piante Grasse. This contains short descriptions, photos (mostly in habitat) etc.


German with English translation.
This is published twice a year and is a serious journal dedicated to the study of Turbinicarpus. Each issue is dedicated either to a single species or a group of related species. If you like Turbinicarpus then you have to get this.
Home Page:
Kakteen und andere Sukkulenten DKG - The German Cacti Society - West Germany
German. 1949 - Present
This is also a very high quality publication. Published twelve times a year. It often contains first descriptions of new plants and other articles of various subjects regarding Turbinicarpus.
Czech. 1965 - Present
This is another very high quality publication. Originally published six times a year, but starting in 1994 reduced to 4 issues per year. First descriptions of new plants are now uncommon, but does contain other articles on various subjects regarding Turbinicarpus.
Home Page:
British Cactus & Succulent Journal
English. 1983 - Present
This is published four times a year (about 170 pages) and contains a good balance of articles, with the occasional Turbinicarpus specific article.
Home Page:
The Cactus & Succulent Journal
American. 1929 - Present
This is published six times a year and contains the occasional Turbinicarpus specific article. It tends to have a leaning towards North American cacti.
Home Page:
This is published six times a year and contains the occasional Turbinicarpus specific article. I don't have any personal experience of this journal.
Home Page:
Acta musei Richnoviensis Sect. natur.
This is published multiple times a year and contains quite a few Turbinicarpus descriptions.

Field number lists

Dr. Alfred B. Lau list, 1983
Does contain locality information.
Steven Brack, 1993
Gives short descriptions and cultivation tips. Does contain locality information.

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