Lophophora Williamsii in flower  

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Here you will find pictures and information on the species of Astrophytum which grows from the state of Texas USA, reaching as far south as central Mexico: The name of Astrophytum comes from the Greek words of astron meaning "star", and phyton meaning "plant" all referring to "star plant" due to its look from above.

Fresh Astrophytum asterias, capricorn (my personal favorite) seeds are available, as well as Astrophytum myriostigma seeds.

Astrophytum seed pods are all very similar in that they dry as fuzzy seed pods with fairly large seeds in comparison to most cactus seed, and germinate quite easily although these are fairly slow growing plants. Many collectors speed up the growth process with grafting.

Astrophytum asterias seed pod

Astrophytum asterias seed pod

Charles Lemaire first described Astrophytum in 1839. There are four species of plants in the genus of Astrophytum with a fifth having been introduced in the year 2001 (Astrophytum caput-medusae): The list of plants is as follows: Astrophytum asterias, capricorn, caput-medusae, myriostigma, and ornatum. Four of these species are described as short cylindrical cacti while the fifth and final to be discovered (A. caput-medusae) is more of a sprawling plant with many arms like an octopus. Two of the plants are spineless while two of them have well pronounced spines. These plants are frost hardy to about minus seven degrees Celsius if dried out well before their winter rest.

Astrophytum asterias body shot

Astrophytum asterias (syn. Star Cactus) body shot

The flowers of these plants are truly magnificent with soft silk type petals in colors of white through golden yellow and often brilliant red centres. The fact that these plants flower often throughout the spring and summer season is a very good indication as to why these plants are so sought after by collectors. This is also a plant that a great many enthusiasts continuously hybridize to come up with many different looks. Personally I don't care for any of the hybrids but to each his own.

Astrophytum asterias flower

Astrophytum asterias flowering

Astrophytum asterias in full bloom

Astrophytum asterias in full bloom

Here below is an example of a hybrid Astrophytum asterias called "Super Kabuto" due to it being well matted with its white wool. Some collectors pay large for such hybrids but once again I don't personally see the value of something that cannot be reproduced in habitat and would soon lose its hybridized tendencies if left with others in habitat.

Astrophytum asterias cultivar Super Kabuto

Astrophytum asterias cultivar Super Kabuto

Astrophytum capricorne

Astrophytum capricorn (syn. Goat's Horn cactus) body shot

Astrophytum capricorn shown here above and below is probably my favorite within this genus of plants. I am quite intrigued by the sprawling/winding spines which offer little harm. The plant also seems to provide the most brilliant of all the Astrophytum flowers with incredibly bright red centres.

Astrophytum capricorn flower

Astrophytum capricorn in flower a

Astrophytum capricorn flowering b

Astrophytum capricorn in flower b

Astrophytum myriostigma

Astrophytum myriostigma (syn. Bishop's Cap)

Astrophytum myriostigma offers another stunning flower. The image above depicts its flower once first opened while this shot below has the flower in full bloom when the sun is at its highest point.

Astrophytum myriostigma in full bloom

Astrophytum myriostigma in full bloom

Astrophytum myriostigma seed pod

Astrophytum myriostigma seed pod

As can be seen from the image above Astrophytum seed pods have to be watched because they dry, then split open in order to let go of their seeds. Not to much to worry about since many are produced and they don't tend to blow all over the place but instead remain somewhat contained within the pod itself.

Astrophytum ornatum

Astrophytum ornatum

email: dr_frank @ magicactus.com

Mailing address:
Frank Valente
56 Dewhurst Blvd.
Toronto, Ontario
M4J 3J3

© 2008, Frank Valente