The Cactaceae Family was named and described by Antoine Laurent de Jussieu in Genera Plantarum in 1789.
Plants of the World Online lists 144 accepted genera in this vast family. The 2013 version of The Plant List (no longer maintained) named 176 accept genera and a total of 2,715 accepted species (including infraspecific names), 8,444 synonyms (including infraspecific names) and 5,848 species that were still unresolved.
Some of the genera in this family are pretty large. Mammillaria consists of 162 accepted species alone. A lot of work has been done with this family in recent years to fix some issues, such as multiple names and infraspecific names for the same genera/species. Ummm… It is complicated.
You can click on the link to The Plant List’s Cactaceae Family page and compare 2013 statistics with current statistics on Plants of the World Online. The Plant List is no longer maintained, so it’s the last update in 2013 is kind of frozen. That way you can compare progress from 2009 through 2017… You can see a lot of progress has been made for sure. You can click to see information from the previous version.
Llifle’s (Encyclopedia of Life) Encyclopedia of Cactus contains information on, quote, “441 plant genera and includes 17,590 scientific names and synonyms. 6,810 taxa and cultivars have their individual description sheet, 2237 of which are accepted scientific names, 419 cultivars names and 14,934 synonyms. The Encyclopedia of Cactus is illustrated with 12,217 photos.” Llifle is truly a masterpiece! Well, there are many masterpieces when it comes to sources of information, all unique in their design, with the sole aim to share knowledge about our plant kingdom. I think Cactus Art and Llifle are connected, I could be wrong, but the sharing of information, photos, and style are “synonymous” in many ways. I am curious though because there is a link to Cactuspedia on Cactus Art… It says all the information on Cactuspedia is now available also on the “NEW” Encyclopedia of Cactus through Llifle.com… Doesn’t matter, they are all AWESOME!
I cannot go farther without mentioning Daiv Freeman and his website, CactusGuide. It is a very valuable site for positive ID and other information. I have emailed him many times when I had cactus I needed identifying and he always responded quickly with “hit the nail on the head” results. It is really good that you can contact an expert and they actually reply… I have emailed many and only a few have responded. Some people make a website and go off and leave it because they are so busy. He also maintains SucculentGuide.com.
My hat is off to all those who are working very hard making adjustments and maintaining these awesome websites. They work very hard and many have other jobs.
For more information about this family of plants, please click on the links below. The links take you directly to the information about the family.