Description: This rare
Japaese cultivar is unmistakable for its pointed tubercles along the
ribs edges, in fact its areoles stick out with large notches between
them, giving them a saw tooth look. The furrows which appear
transversely on the ribs cuts the continuity of the ribs and the plants
appears decorated with a geometrical design which is raised above the
surface. When viewed from above these plants resemble a tortoise-shell
hence the Japanese word 'Kitsu-kow' that means
"Turtle shell" but at a first glace (especially the nude form)
resembles some chinned cacti particularly some
Gymocalyciums. Usually the young seedlings appears nothing
special and looks like normal myriostigma, and barely shows any trace of
saw teeth, but they start to produce the distinguishing indentation and
turn into an amazing adult as they get 3 to 7 years old. In general the
bigger the "saw teeth" are and the rounder and flatter they are, the
better. All species of Astrophytum (excluded
A. caput-medusae) have their particular "kikko"
Stem: Pentagonal to almost spherical, dimension 22-40 cm tall, 5-10
cm in diameter.
Ribs: Usually 5.
Flowers: Like those of the well known
Blooming season: Spring to summer.
Cultivation: Although regarded as a
choice and difficult plant in cultivation it is relatively easy to grow.
It is sometime seen as a grafted plant but grows very well on its own
roots too. Use mineral well permeable substratum with little organic
matter (peat, humus). Water sparingly from
March till October and keep perfectly dry in winter
at temperatures from 5 to 15 degrees centigrade.
(but it is Hardy to -7░C for short periods) In the rest period no
high atmospheric humidity!!
Sun Exposure: Light shade to full sun.
Propagation: Almost exclusively by seed.
Plants are sometimes grafted onto column-shaped cacti.