The stem is up to 5 cm in diameter. However, most of it is hidden underground. The aerial part is divided into thin mamillas about 4 cm long, covered with a greenish-gray epidermis. Wooly areoles are located 1.5 cm from the tip of mamilla and are most noticeable in cultivated plants. In wild-growing cacti of this species, mamillas group together in the dry season and turn slightly towards the center of the plant; in this position, areoles are almost impossible to detect. However, after rains, their location gives out bright reddish purple flowers up to 5 cm in diameter, blooming on the areoles of young mamils, so that the tops of the cactus bloom.
This species is found in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas, near the town of Tula, but cactus habitats are seriously threatened by human activities (garbage dumps, grazing). A new habitat of the species was discovered in the state of San Luis Potosi, but it is kept in the deepest secret because of the risk of destruction. Cactus is relatively difficult to grow, so it is usually grafted onto a suitable alien root, such as geometric myrtle cactus. It can also be grown on its own root, using a well-drained soil mixture with the addition of crushed brick, expanded clay, perlite or crushed stone. Propagate it almost exclusively by seeds, but sometimes by grafting the shoots.
Ariocarpus bravo (Ariocarpus bravoanus)
According to the structure of the stem, this species is most similar to the aryocarpus fissured subspecies of Hinton (A.fissuratusssp. Hintonii), but its mamilla are more directed upwards. A large purple-red flower appears in late autumn, and the seeds ripen in March next year.
The habitat of this rare species is an unusually small area in the Mexican state of San Luis Potosi, oddly enough, this place is located just 1 km from the main highway connecting Mexico City with the capital of the said state. The cactus grows on flat elevations on rough, stony limestone soil. The stems are very well camouflaged in the ground, and it is impossible to detect these micro-sites without accurate knowledge. Very strict protective regulations and laws of the International Convention (CITES) prevent the export of plants from the country, and in this case it is quite reasonable measures. Nevertheless, it would be nice to find legal ways to meet the needs of the market, which would serve as effective protection against the plunder of natural wealth.
Ariocarpus unclear (Ariocarpus confusus)
A detailed but very problematic group. The authors of the description suggested the name confusus (unclear), because it is a special, variable and ultimately underestimated plant population, but one would argue that the inclusion of this species in the genus system is also not entirely clear. The plants are relatively large - they can exceed 20 cm in diameter - and their aerial part has a characteristic gray-green color. The forms of mamillas and their distribution along the stem are extremely diverse: one plant is different from another and one population from another. The pink color of the flowers is one of the visible signs that distinguishes this cactus from other species.
It grows in several places around the town of Aramberry in the Mexican state of Nuevo Leon, where it occupies plains and slightly mountainous areas. The surface of the earth there is dotted with stones of limestone origin, and individual plants usually exist in open places, and not under the cover of higher vegetation. Fans also cultivate this species for many years, but a debate about the taxonomy of the plant may lead to a more thorough study of the habitat. According to available information, this cactus is closely related to the species Ariocarpus blunt (A. retusus), with which it has similar growing conditions.
Ariocarpus fissured (Ariocarpus fissuratus)
The stem, as in other species of this genus, is divided into the aerial part, which is formed in this case by mamils, located by the type of tile, and the underground part, connected to a large turnip root. The cactus reaches a height of 15 cm, an adult plant blooms in autumn, flowers of pinkish-purple color with a diameter of 5 cm.
It is found in the northern regions of Mexico, as well as in Texas. In Mexico, two other species grow - this is an ariocarpus fissured diff. Lloyd (A. fissuratus var. Iloydii) and ariocarpus fissured diff. Hinton (A.fissuratus var. Hintonii). The first has a large semi-spherical stalk with a diameter of 20 cm and lives in the Sierra de Parras mountains, the second has a small flattened stalk no higher than 6 cm and very cleverly hides in rocky areas under rare grass cover. The same cultivation method applies to all three. Growing plants on their own roots, you must be very careful with watering at the beginning and at the end of the growth period. The soil mixture must be well-drained and have the ability to dry quickly. Vaccination is also possible.
Ariocarpus Kochubey (Ariocarpus kotschoubeyanus)
Mexicans call this cactus pezuna de venado, which means "deer hoof," but it is more like a multipath star. Most of the stem is hidden underground, and in wild specimens above the ground only mamilla are visible. This view is also well camouflaged. Its stem does not reach large sizes, and plants with a diameter of 7 cm can be considered giants. Like other representatives of the genus, it has no thorns. Beautiful purple-red flowers bloom on the youngest mamillas near the apex, have a diameter of 3.5 cm and often cover the entire plant.
Before us is an extremely variable species, having a huge habitat. It is found in northern Mexico and has spread all the way to the states of San Luis Potosi, Cueretaro and Zacatecas. A place near the city of Mateu ala (state of San Luis Potosi) is considered typical for him. A species with white flowers (A. k. Var. Albifloms) is found in the vicinity of the town of Tula in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas, but some researchers consider it an independent species. Growing both members of the group is a difficult task, and flowering plants on their own roots are considered a great achievement for the cactus grower.
Ariocarpus blunt (Ariocarpus retusus)
There are no thorns in this cactus. The stem grows 25 cm in height, and its upper part consists of trihedral mamils with a grayish-green epidermis. In autumn, white flowers with yellow stigmas and bright yellow anthers appear from the center of the plant. Fully open flowers can have a diameter of up to 4 cm.
Cactus is common in large areas of Northern Mexico, where it grows on gentle slopes and limestone hills, always in the open sun. Locals use cactus juice squeezed as a medicine, as well as a potent hallucinogenic drug. In collections, cactus, as a rule, exists in grafted form, but with very careful cultivation it can be grown on its own roots. The species is propagated by seeds. After germination, it is recommended to plant seedlings on top of plants of the genus Pereskiopsis (Pereskiopsis). and after one or two seasons the stock can be removed.
Aryocarpus scalyhorn (Ariocarpus scaphorostrus)
This cactus is not a dwarf, since its diameter can reach 9 cm, but finding it in the hills is not so easy. Its blunt-ended, blunt-ended mamilli are covered with a gray-green epidermis and only slightly rise above the surface of the shale crumb covering the habitat of this plant. However, large, 4 cm in diameter, reddish-purple flowers with numerous bright yellow anthers cannot be seen.
The view occupies a very limited area in the immediate vicinity of the town of Rayones in the Mexican state of Nuevo Leon. Unfortunately, the survival prospects in the wild for this plant are small. Cactus is rare in collections.
Ariocarpus triangular (Ariocarpus trigonus)
Unlike other representatives of the genus, this species forms flowers on old areoles, and therefore, during flowering, its top is surrounded by a whole garland of white flowers. The name trigonus clearly indicates its trihedral mamilla, spiky and lagging behind the stem, which can reach a diameter of 25 cm.
The species is distributed over a relatively large area in northeastern Mexico. but unlike other representatives of the genus, it settles at a low altitude, about 500 m above sea level. The cultivation method is similar to that used for blunt ariocarpus (A. retusus). The stage of maturity, when flowering can be expected, occurs for plants on their own roots 10 years later, and for vaccinated ones 3 years after sowing.
Ariocarpus blunted Cristata (Ariocarpus retusus Cristata)
It is unnecessary to give recommendations regarding the cultivation or propagation of this mutation, since this is the only phenomenon in the world of this form and size. Without a doubt, this is a wonderful freak of nature.
We found this marvel in the vicinity of the city of Mateualy, in places quite frequented by cactus lovers. It is impossible to guess the age of this extraordinary cactus, and its discovery caused a real sensation. Cactus growers know several specimens of natural comb forms of the genus Ariocarpus, and their habitat is the goal of pilgrimage for various expeditions. And everyone wants to be photographed near a rarity. The specimen shown in the picture deserves to be placed in the Guinness Book of Records - its crest has a length of about 1.2 m.
Botanical description of a houseplant
Ariocarpus is a genus of succulents from the Cactus family. This genus has 6 (according to other sources, 8) plant species. Has white fruits, with a greenish or reddish tint. The seeds are small. In its homeland - in the south of North America - the ariocarpus has the name "chautl." Due to its exotic appearance some call the ariocarpus a "living stone".
The Latin name for the genus is “Ariocarpus”. Ariocarpus can grow up to 12 centimeters. The surface is covered with papillae with areoles placed on them. Spines are underdeveloped. The shoots are oblate in shape, have a gray or brown color. The flowers of the plant are bell-shaped, they can be yellow, red and white (we talked about other types of cacti with red thorns and flowers here). In diameter can reach 5 centimeters.
History of occurrence and geography of habitat
The ariocarpus was first noticed and described in 1838 by the Belgian botanist Michel Scheidweiler. In the 20s of the 20th century, this genus was studied by the German botanist Alvin Berger. In vivo, ariocarpus grows in Texas (USA) and several Mexican states. In nature, cacti of this genus are found on rocks and rocky soil..
The diameter of the cactus is about 8 centimeters. Large pink flowers mainly grow on the crown of the plant from dark green areoles (more about exotic cacti with pink thorns or flowers we described in a separate article). Fruits are elongated, red or purple. The stem is smooth. The papillae are thick and flattened.
Kochubey or Kotzebue (Kotschoubeyanus)
In height, it can reach from 2 to 12 centimeters. This species is very compact, its outlet in diameter is not more than 5 centimeters. Flat tubercles are located in the form of tiles and decorated with stripes. Central grooves are covered with white pile. The flowers are small, pink in color and funnel-shaped.
This species is the oldest known ariocarpus. The main difference from the brothers is the split areoles. In diameter, it can reach 10 centimeters. A white thick pile grows on top. In the axils between the tubercles, pale pink flowers of a funnel-shaped form grow.
Dull Triangular or Retusus Trigonus (Retusus ssp. Trigonus)
Can reach up to 10 centimeters in diameter. The stem is covered with pyramidal pointed tubercles of dark green color, the length of which is about 3 centimeters. A thick fluff grows in the sinuses of the tubercles. The flowers are yellow, up to 5 centimeters in diameter.
This species is one of the rarest. The stem reaches 9 centimeters in diameter, in shape - flat-spherical. The papillae are keeled and arranged freely and sparsely. The flowers are lilac in diameter - up to 4 centimeters.
How to care at home?
- Temperature. In the warm season there is no particular need to monitor the temperature, since the ariocarpus is not very demanding on it.
- Watering. It is necessary to water an ariocarpus very sparingly, only when the earthen lump is completely dry.
Water should fall to the ground, not escape. Otherwise, rot may occur.
- It is necessary to wait time to allow the soil to dry.
- A cactus is transplanted with an earthen lump.
- Then they sprinkle with soil and ram.
- Then the plant is watered, after shrinkage of the soil, more earth and a layer of drainage are added.
Features of outdoor care
According to studies (based mainly on data from Canadian cactus growers), the ariocarpus can withstand cold up to -12 degrees.
Cactus should not be exposed on the eve of winter. Better to do it in the spring.
In winter, the main role in protecting plants from freezing is played by the cover of snow. Problems can occur in March-April, when the snow melts during the day and freezes occur at night. Therefore, in the afternoon, the plant must be additionally sprinkled with snow. Based on the European experience of growing cacti in open ground, you should pay attention to the following problems: lack of sun, summer heat and a large amount of rainfall.
This can be solved with the help of a specially made slide on which cacti should be grown. The slide should have good drainage, it should be inclined to the south. If the pebbles on its surface are black or red, then this will help to quickly heat the soil and the surface layer of air. And, of course, the plant must be protected from the winds. It is not recommended to leave young plants for wintering in open ground. If the plant is grafted, then the frost resistance of the stock should be equal to the frost resistance of the scion.
Propagation by vaccination and seeds
Seed propagation is a long process.taking an average of two years.
- Seeds are sown in sandy soil.
- The soil must be constantly moistened. The temperature is kept about 20 degrees.
- At 4 months, seedlings are dived and placed in a greenhouse.
- After a year and a half, the ariocarpus can be gradually accustomed to home conditions.
The vaccination method also lasts about two years. Grafting is recommended for permanent stock (usually another cactus, for example, erzocereus usberti or myrtle cactus).
- The grafting material is cut with a dry, sharp blade.
- The material is grafted onto echinopsis, when its diameter reaches 10-15 mm, it is re-grafted onto a stump of usberti eriocereus.
- About two years keep the plant in greenhouse conditions.
Ariocarpus bloom is short-lived: it lasts about a week. It takes place in September and early October. Depending on the type, the color of the flowers may be different: white, pink, yellow or red. Flowers open only during the day. In their place there are fleshy smooth fruits. At home, it is very difficult to achieve flowering. Most species of this cactus blooms at the age of 5-6 years.
- The same beautiful flower as the ariocarpus, at its head has an Alonsi turbinicarpus (for details on varieties, types and cultivation of the turbinicarpus read here).
- Lithops has the same nickname as Ariocarpus, the “living stone."
- Echinocereus is covered with beautiful decorative spines, and its flowers do not fade for many days. And the small Echinocereus Knippel generally does not have thorns, like an ariocarpus (you can see the description and features of growing all types of echinocereus here).
- Mamillaria is surprisingly beautiful: its spines are located with mathematical precision. With an ariocarpus, a white fluff contrasts it with dark skin.
Ariocarpus rarely bloom, but this process will be a worthy decoration of the house. And proper care and atmosphere will accelerate the onset of this period.
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Cacti Ariocarpus grow very slowly. All species of this genus produce a kind of mucus, the locals use it as glue. The most suitable temperature in the winter season is plus ten degrees Celsius, these cacti calmly tolerate a short-term temperature drop to zero or lower, and they also tolerate direct sunlight. Ariocarpus tolerate drought, and watering in winter should be moderate.
One of the species of the genus Ariocarpus is the Ariocarpus agave. The diameter of the plant is approximately 8 centimeters. Pinkish flowers, rather large, about four to five centimeters long, open only for one day. The fruits are elongated, from purplish-pinkish to reddish-brown in color, 1-2 centimeters long. The papillae are long, very thickened, are densely located on the stem, resembling shingles in appearance.
Dear reader, do not miss the opportunity to be sure to look at Svetlana Chernova’s wonderful video and photo sketch “How Cacti Blossom and Bloom!”
Ariocarpus: plant description
Ariocarpus belong to the Cactus family. The birthplace of the plant is in the territory of modern USA and Mexico. This is one of the most unusual and attractive cacti. In some of its species, the stems grow almost at ground level. They are flattened, triangular in shape, gray-green in color, slightly thickened. At the ends of the stems there are rudimentary “non-spiny thorns”. With the exception of the earliest months of growth, mature plants have no thorns.
The root system resembles a pear or turnip with additional peripheral filiform roots. The root of this succulent is about 80% of its size. All types of ariocarpuses are compact. The largest of them grow up to 7 cm in height and up to about 25 cm across. The rest of the sizes are more modest. In form, the plant approaches a hemisphere or spherical shape.
In adulthood, the ariocarpus remains a single plant, but some species can produce clones or compact additional clusters of several stems. Due to the very low growth and almost gray color of the stems, most ariocarpuses are well camouflaged in their habitats. They are almost impossible to detect if the plant is blooming.
Flowers are the main decoration of a cactus. They can be white, yellow or red. Diameter - up to 5 cm. Flowering occurs at the beginning of autumn - September or October. Some species bloom in November. The duration of flowering is only a couple of days. The faded flower forms a small green round fruit with a diameter of 5–20 mm. Inside the fruit are small seeds. As it ripens, the fruit breaks up and the seeds spill out into the ground.
In total, more than 10 species of these interesting cacti are known.
Characteristics of the main ones:
- Ariocarpus agave - a plant with a small green juicy rosette with stems of greenish-brown color up to 6 cm long and 8 cm in diameter. As it grows, the lower part of the trunk gradually lignifies. In shape it resembles a star with thickened rays directed in different directions from the central axis. Flowering is possible at 5–8 years of age. The flower of a dark pink (purple) color reaches a diameter of 3-4 cm, similar in shape to a bell. Grows on rocky limestone hills and alluvial plains. It is considered almost extinct due to over-gathering by people, the development of agriculture and the eating of farm animals.
- Ariocarpus blunt - one of the largest species (diameter - 10-12 cm). He will need as much as 10 years before he reaches the age of flowering. Its distinguishing features: low rise, beige felt pubescence, rounded papillae of a pyramidal shape and several large flowers up to 4 cm in diameter. Blossoms in white or light pink petals. He is also the easiest to care of all ariocarpuses.
- Cracking ariocarpus - a cactus of a greenish-gray hue. It is unique in that it is perfectly masked in the desert and is not noticeable until it begins to bloom. The shape resembles a placer of small limestone stones. It can be grafted onto a trunk of another species to accelerate growth. Used by Native American shamans to achieve an altered state of consciousness. Almost does not need water and fertilizers, but requires good lighting. Flowering begins at the age of 10 and falls on October.
- Ariocarpus Kotzebue - A plant with a flat rosette in the shape of a star. Usually its height does not exceed 2-5 cm above the ground. It rises in the form of several triangular tubercles of green color. Cactus is covered with felt crown. It blooms with purple flowers 2.5-5 cm in diameter from mid-September.
- Ariocarpus triangular is the largest in this group. The diameter of the trigonus reaches 30 cm and a height of 25 cm. The spherical shape of the stem is yellowish-green in color, covered with long-leaved triangular tubercles, sharp at the peaks. The cactus is unique in its variability in the shape and size of the tubercles, therefore it is the owner of numerous names, although they are nothing more than forms or local phenotypes. The satin sheen of cream or yellowish flowers is another feature of the species. The diameter of the flower is 3-5 cm. Flowering begins in November or December.
Planting and placing plants in the room
In the wild, ariocarpus grows in rocky areas with the presence of limestone massifs, so limestone is a prerequisite for good development. Fragments of limestone are mixed with solid sand and clay soil. There is little soil between the stones, and this provides a quick outflow of moisture from the roots of the plant.
Recommendations for landing ariocarpus:
- You can buy seeds in a store or collect from a seed box after flowering your plant.
- If you collect a shift from your cactus, then the seed box must be removed before it dries and the seeds fall into the ground.
- Plant the seeds in a succulent mix. It can consist of compost, perlite and sand in equal parts. Any soil is recommended to be calcined in the oven at high temperature in order to destroy pests and phytopathogens.
- Close the seeds no deeper than 1 cm, or spread on the surface, moisten and sprinkle with sand.
- Cover the container with seeds with cling film to create a microclimate that will accelerate germination by a couple of weeks.
What kind of lighting is needed for the plant
Plants need a very bright light for optimal growth and development. But do not expose it to direct sunlight. Intense lighting can cause sunburn.
Ariocarpus is best grown:
- in a very bright greenhouse
- in containers outdoors in bright sunlight.
With a good drainage system, plants can easily tolerate even rainfall, although it may be advisable to install screens to protect against hail. Cacti, which are all the time indoors, suffer from a lack of sunlight and air temperature. In this case, they grow much more slowly and do not bloom.
Requirements for temperature and humidity
Acceptable air temperature - +20. + 26 ° C. During the growing season, it should be higher than in the rest of the time. Succulents need very low humidity. In spring and summer, ariocarpus requires good ventilation, but without drafts.
Also read how to care for other types of indoor cacti:
What should be the substrate for planting
The potting mixture for succulents must be loose, permeable to air and sufficiently drained. To do this, mix in equal parts garden soil, compost, perlite, coconut fiber or sawdust.
The purpose of the individual components:
- garden land Is the soil base of the mixture,
- compost - nutritional component
- coconut fiber - a structural element that prevents soil compaction,
- perlite provides friability and access of oxygen to the soil.
How to care for an ariocarpus
In order for the plants to develop well, for them recreate the natural habitat - the Mexican deserts. They grow well with plenty of light, good drainage, high temperature and low humidity.
Features of watering
There is a common misconception that succulents need very little water. But this is not so. Despite the possibility of moisture accumulation in the stems, with insufficient watering, they will survive, but will not develop and thrive.
Since the ariocarpus has very large tuberous roots, all its species are sensitive to excess moisture. This can cause root decay and death if the cactus does not have a good drainage system.
Fertilizing and fertilizing the flower
In natural habitats, the ariocarpus receives fertilizers from rainwater. Showers are accompanied by thunderstorms. Lightning oxidizes part of the atmospheric nitrogen, which is fed into the ground along with a stream of water. The amount of nitrogen entering the soil can be significant, but the plant will absorb only part of it. And the other part of the cactus will receive from polluted air, so your task is to provide it with fertilizers with a low nitrogen content.
The composition also contains potassium and phosphorus. You need to feed the plant once a month from spring to November. The most effective fertilizers for succulents are sodium humate and humic acids obtained from peat and silt. The drugs are released in the form of granules and liquid concentrates. Use the fertilizer strictly according to the instructions on the packaging.
Substances that should be part of fertilizers:
- nitrogen - to enhance growth,
- potassium - to increase disease resistance and good development,
- phosphorus - for root formation and stimulation of flowering,
- calcium - required during the budding and ripening of seeds.
It is advisable to consider succulent pruning from two perspectives: molding and pruning during transplantation.
Trim the stems of the ariocarpus in order to:
- remove the spikes,
- repair damage from disease, accidental damage.
When transplanting, pruning of the roots occurs. Its goal is to stimulate the growth of the root system, reduce the risk of decay of the underground part of the plant. To do this, trim the roots with a sterile knife, then sprinkle with ash and dry for several days before returning the plant to the pot.
But this method has many opponents. Many gardeners believe that such a procedure increases the risk of plant infection by phytopathogens, and its benefits are extremely doubtful. Be sure to prune the flower after flowering and dry the plant under the lamp for 5–10 days to prevent infection with rot or other phytopathogens.
Ariocarpus Transplant Rules
The soil in which the ariocarpus grows, after some time becomes nutrient poor, more dense, therefore, in the spring it is recommended to transplant the plant.
- Water the cactus liberally so that water flows.
- Tilt the pot over a sheet of paper and carefully remove the plant.
- Tap the old soil with a stick so as not to damage the roots.
- Place drainage (pebbles, rubble, ceramic shards) in a new pot.
- Lay a layer of potted mixture over the drainage.
- Plant an ariocarpus.
- Fill the rest of the pot with soil.
Do not water the plant for several days to prevent rotting of damaged roots. Remember that when transplanting, the natural habitat of the plant is simply recreated: stony soil and an abundance of heat and light.
How to save an ariocarpus in winter
In winter, the ariocarpus is at rest. The air temperature in the room should not be lower than + 10 ° С. Watering is reduced to a minimum. In this case, you should focus on dry soil.
Some gardeners do not water the ariocarpus in the winter months. But in the absence of watering, the root neck is dried out, followed by cracking, which can cause diseases and death of the plant. There is also a technique for a gradual decrease in watering and a similar gradual increase in spring with the beginning of the growing season.
The plant can be propagated by seeds formed after flowering. For growing, you will need a small pot or container, soil made of sand and peat or sheet soil, drainage from pebbles, limestone, and ceramics.
- Prepare the soil and drainage.
- Moisten the soil.
- Fill the pot with a layer of drainage, and then mix the soil.
- Sprinkle the seeds on the ground and cover them with a thin layer of coarse sand.
- Spray the soil with a spray gun.
- Cover the mini-greenhouse with foil and place on a sunny warm window sill.
- If condensation forms on the film, it is periodically slightly opened to reduce humidity and prevent mold.
Plant diseases and pests
Growing an ariocarpus does not require much effort on the part of the grower. With sufficient lighting, well-drained soil and proper watering, cacti will grow and develop well. Nevertheless, diseases can affect any plants.
The most common disease is root rot associated with an improper moisture regimen. Cacti are rotten because they are filled with water and fleshy plant tissue. Rot spreads from bottom to top. It is possible that the root has already decayed, but you will not notice this on the aerial part. Except that rotting succulents have an unpleasant odor.
If you find rot, cut off all the rotten parts with a sterile knife. The remaining healthy part should be light green, as hard as an apple, and not have discolored spots. If they are, then you need to continue to cut. If the tissue is not completely clean, then the plant is thrown away.
When the cactus matures, the lower parts or the base of the plant turn from smooth green to a hard, brown, bark-like look. Such hardening is a sign of natural aging, and it is not a disease. But if the spots appear on the side or top, then this is a sunburn, and the plant needs to be removed from direct sunlight.