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  Acanthocalycium chionantum
(syn: Echinopsis thionantha, Lobivia chionantha)
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Acanthocalicium chionanthum P67  Portrero 2500m, Salta, Argentina.
This is a very variable species, with several forms and varieties.

 

Description: Usually solitary or slowly branching through basal shoots, but quite variable taxon with several forms.
There are a number of varieties of this highly variable cactus species, but not all are universally recognized.

Stem: Spherical, over time it becomes slightly cylindrical, growing to a height of 12 cm or more, and a diameter of 6 to 10 cm.  The epidermis is green to dark blue grey, and become a clear powdery-grey in the older part of the stem (like some Copiapoa)
Ribs: About 9-15.
Areoles: At the apex of tubercles, at first are covered with yellowish-brown felt. The flower part of the areola is elongated, while the upper part curves around the sides of the rib, more or less in the shape of a small shield. As the tubercles widen in the course of growth, the areoles become elliptical and almost glabrous.
Spines: 5 to 10 radial spines and 1 to 4 central spines, they are all more or less of the same length in a given plant ( 0,5 -3 cm.), but this species appears to be very variable regarding the length colour and number of spines in different populations.  They are usually black or light brown at first, becoming grey or whitish-yellow as they age.
Flowers: Bell-shaped, 5 cm. long or less on lateral areoles, and the segments of the perianth are sulphur or lemon-yellow (but also white, orange or red),  They have very hairy buds,  The floral tubes have brown-white hairs /bristles and dark spine-tipped scales.
 

The epidermis is dark-green to blue grey, and become a clear powdery-grey in the older part of the stem
(like some Copiapoa)

Cultivation: It is a summer-growing species that offers no cultivation difficulty. Water regularly in summer (but do not over-water). It needs good drainage and very porous soil. Keep rather dry in winter.  Feed with a high potassium fertilizer in summer.  It is quite frost resistant if kept dry (hardy to -12 C). It needs a very bright exposure. Full sun is indispensable to keep plant compact with strong spines.

Propagation: Direct sow after last frost, offsets (if available).

 


Photo gallery: Alphabetical listing of Cactus and Succulent pictures published in this site.

Photo gallery Acanthocalycium

 


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Family: Cactaceae (Cactus Family)

Scientific name:  Acanthocalycium thionanthum (Spegazzini) Backeberg

Origin: Argentina (Salta)

Habitat:  Mountain slopes

Conservation status: Listed in CITES appendix 2.

Synonyms:
  • Echinopsis thionantha (Speg.) Werderm.
  • Lobivia thionantha (Speg.) Britton & Rose
  • Echinocactus thionanthus,
  • Acanthocalycium thionanthum v. chionanthum (Speg.) Hoss.
  • Acanthocalycium chionanthum
  • Echinopsis chionantha
  • Echinocactus chionanthus
  • Acanthocalycium catamarcense [F. Ritter]
  • Acanthocalycium  brevispinum Ritt.
  • Echinopsis brevispina
  • Acanthocalycium minutum
  • Acanthocalycium thionanthum vminutum
  • Acanthocalycium griseum
     

Note: This sp. is in the genus Echinopsis now, and its accepted name is Echinopsis thionantha.
 

 


▼▲Spines variability
A full sun exposure is indispensable to keep plant compact with strong and colourful spines.  Without sun the stems elongate, remain green and don't form the characteristic powdery-grey coating.
 

Photo of conspecific taxa, varieties, forms and cultivars  of plants belonging to the Acanthocalycium (Echinopsis) thionanthum/chionanthum complex (This Taxon has lots of synonyms (like many other cacti), with several controversial varieties and subspecies, and comprises a multitude of different forms, but where each form is linked to others by populations of plants with intermediate characteristics):

Home | E-mail | Plant files | Mail Sale Catalogue | Links | Information | Search

All the information and photos in cactus art file are now available also in the new the Enciclopedia of Cacti. We hope you find this new site informative and useful.