Plants - Drugs Mind - Spirit Freedom - Law Arts - Culture Library  

Visionary Cactus Guide


There are only four known species of this oddly shaped, generally spineless Cacti. This genus was once included under Echinocactus. Plants are native to a large area from Southern Texas to Northern Mexico. Name is derived from the Greek "astron" for star, and "phyton" for plant. The Genus was established by Lemaire in 1839.

A. asterias ( Zuccarini ) -

( Sea urchin ) The sand dollar Cactus has no spines, and is divided into eight segments, forming a low dome. They have yellow flowers with red throats, and are summer blooming. Even small seedlings have the ability to flower and set seed. Mature plants grow to 10 cm across, and are covered in deeply sunken stomates.

Need strong sun and temperatures above 45 degrees. As of 1993, this species has been declared endangered in the U.S.A.. Rare in cultivation and slow growing.

Reported to contain unspecified alkaloids.

A. capricorne ( Dietrich ) -

( Star Cactus ) This Cactus is characterised by 8 to 9 sharp prominent ribs, and large, tufted areoles. The epidermis is covered in tiny white scales. The top part of plant is covered in a brownish down, and each areole has up to ten irregular spines, which may drop off as the Cactus ages. Habitat is from Nuevo Leon, Mexico to New Mexico.

Needs full sun and a winter rest period with reduced watering. There are a number of different varieties, among them: crassiperum, niveum and minus. This species must be kept from freezing.

Reported to contain unspecified alkaloids.

A. myriostigma ( Lemaire ) -

( Bishops cap ) A distinctive star shaped, spineless Cactus with 3 - 8 prominent ribs. Its dark green skin is covered in numerous, small, silvery glochida. The plants bear sweet, yellow, summer blooming flowers. These Cacti grow up to about 20 cm in diameter when mature.

Needs a well drained soil that is high in course, porous material. Keep out of full Sun except in a greenhouse. Native to the north central Mexican plateau. Will regrow from the root if the top is cut off.

Reported to contain unspecified alkaloids.