Friday, October 1, 2010

Pelecyphora aselliformis

P. aselliformis is a well known medicinal peyote sold in the markets of San Luís Potosí, Mexico, and is used as a remedy for fevers and rheumatic pains. Extracts have also been shown to have antibiotic activity.  As this plan grows very slowly, therefore, it is usually grafted and rare.   So P. aselliformis may be a challenge for cactus collectors to grow it successfully.

Scientific NamePelecyphora aselliformis Ehrenberg
Synonym: Mammillaria aselliformis, Anhalonium aselliforme, Ariocarpus aselliformis
Common name: Peyotillo, hatchet cactus, woodlouse cactus.
Origin: Mexico (San Luis Potosí - around the city of San Luis Potosí, above 6000 feet (1800 m))

Minimum Avg. Temperature: 50°F (10°C)

Sun Exposure: P. aselliformis needs a very well drained soil and requires strong sun to part sun to develop good spinal growth. You can grow this plant in the shade of bushes and don’t get direct sun at midday.  

Watering Needs: Watering should be rather infrequent, to keep the plant compact and not become excessively elongated and unnatural in appearance. Keep dry in winter, or when night temperatures remain below 10° C (but some people give this plant a light monthly watering to prevent the drying and shedding of the lower tubercles.) it is hardy to -4°C for a short period.  

Flowers: Pink to violet flowers with lighter outside petals, 2 - 3.5 cm in diameter. The floral buds are acuminate and appear on the apex. 

Blooming season: It normally flowers from February till October
, but only if the sunlight is strong enough.

Propagation: It can be reproduced both by seeds and cuttings, but it is often grafted because difficult and slow to grow on its own roots. Older specimens shoot tillers from under tubercles, so they can be grafted, which is a much easier way of propagation than sowing. Young seedlings are tiny and they need several years to reach adult size, and require  close care.


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