Melocactus Link & Otto, ()
🌵 Author(s)

🌵 Type Melocactus communis

Greek melon ‘melon’ + Greek kaktos, a prickly plant found in Sicily, possibly the cardoon or artichoke thistle (Cynara cardunculus). For the spiny, round plant body, but primarily an abbreviation of the pre-Linnaean name Echinomelocactus (‘hedgehog melon-thistle’). Link and Otto split this genus, whose name was abbreviated to Cactus by Linnaeus, into Echinocactus and Melocactus.

How to cite

van der Meer, Maarten H.J. (2022, February 5). Melocactus. Dictionary of Cactus Names. Retrieved from


A.T. Johnson, H.A. Smith & A.P. Stockdale (2019): Plant Names Simplified, 3rd Edition


Ross Bayton (2019): The Garderner's Botanical


Helmut Genaust (1996): Etymologisches Wörterbuch der botanischen Pflanzennamen, 3. Auflage

“Botanical Latin is essentially a written language, but the scientific names of plants often occur in speech. How they are pronounced really matters little provided they sound pleasant and are understood by all concerned.”

William T. Stearn (1983): Botanical Latin, 3rd Edition: 53