Thursday, September 11, 2008

Ariocarpus fissuratus

Ariocarpus fissuratus is a species of extremely slow growing cacti aound in rare numbers in Mexico and the southern. Commonly called "living rocks," these cacti usually blend in well with the terrain around them. They are greyish-green in color, sometimes taking on a yellowish tint with age.

These cac

ti consist of many small tubercles growing from a large tap root. They are usually solitary, rarely giving rise to side shoots from old areoles. These cacti are difficult to spot in their natural

 habitat. When they are found, it is usually due to their pinkish flowers

In cultivation, Ariocarpus fissuratus is often grafted to a faster growing columnar cactus to speed growth, as they would generally take at least a decade to reach maturity on their own. They require very little water and fertilizer, a good amount of light, and a loose sandy soil with good drainage.

Growth Habits: Solitary, grows extremely slowly to 8 inches in diameter (20 cm)

Watering Needs: Little to no water in winter, little in summer, needs good drainage

Cultural Practices:
The Ariocarpus are rare slow growing cacti, a 6 inches in diameter mature specimen might be 20 years old. For 

many years the large mature specimens were collected in the wild, practice that has been severely limited by the new regulations, either in Mexico or in international trade. They are not adapted as house plants as they need a lot of sun and careful watering. The large taproot needs enough room to grow, which complicates the good 

drainage requirement, since the deeper the pot, the slower it drains.

The center growing part is sensitive to mealybugs attacks. Since this part is woolly, mealy bugs can be difficult to notice. The plant should be treated as 

soon as mealybugs are noticed.

Blooming Habits:

The Ariocarpus fissuratus has large, diurnal, 1.5 inches in diameter (4 cm), pale to deep pink satin flowers in mid summer, followed by fruit buried in the wool.