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  Aztekium ritteri CACTUS ART
NURSERY

 Cultivation and Mail Sale
of Cacti and Succulents.

 


Aztekium ritterii is unlikely to be mistaken for any other species.
It grows extremely slowly (about only 1mm per year).
 

Description: Globular cactus, seldom exceeding 5 cm in diameter and rather less in height, with 9 to 11 rounded ribs.  These are in turn crossed by numerous horizontal furrows.  Between these true ribs are small secondary ribs, reaching about halfway up the plant body.  The colour of the younger growth is a rather pale yellowish green, merging to grey-green on the lower, older growth. The centre of the cactus contains a lot of white wool.  Once the plant body has reached full size it slowly offsets, and small clumps are commonly found.  It does not develop a large storage root.
Spines: 1 to 3 small, weak, often missing from the youngest areoles. The older areoles form a more or less continuous line along the centre of the true ribs.
Flowers: Small (less than 10 mm wide) from the plant tip, white to pink, and usually the outer petals have a darker mid-stripe. It flowers freely in cultivation throughout the summer months.  They are followed by small pink fruit that open when ripe and let out tiny seeds.
 


 

 
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A grafted specimen

( Photo in habitat  Copyright by Marco Antonio Arroyo - Mexico )

This plant is considered a sacred plant for some Mexican tribes. The name of this genus refers to the similarity of the plant with Aztec sculpture designs.

Cultivation: It is of extremely slow growth - probably the slowest of the entire cactus family.  It usually takes several years for growth to be even noticeable. It needs good drainage and regular water in summer. It should be dried out completely for its winter rest when it will withstand temperatures down to to -4C for short periods.  It prefers some shade.
Once a specimen is established on its own roots it is no trouble to keep it ,and becomes an easy plant to manage.
Reproduction:
It usually multiplies by seeds.  The seeds are extremely fine and germinate readily, producing minute seedlings which are very sensitive for the first two months.  But many of them perish, and taking them to a viable size is very difficult.  They are usually grafted to increase growth speed.  In any case, grafting produces rather atypical plants which tend to be more obese and to offset much more readily than plants growing on their own roots.  The offsets of grafted plants are often produced from areoles high up on the plant body, rather than at ground level.
It is also possible to root the offsets from grafted plants, but with little success.


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Family: Cactaceae (Cactus Family)

Scientific name:  Aztekium ritteri (Boed.) Boed.

Origin:  North east of Mexico It appears to be restricted to a single valley (Rayones) in Nuevo Leon.

Listed in CITES Appendix 1

Habitat: Occurs in vertical cliffs of friable limestone. Elsewhere it has been reported growing on similarly steep gypsum faces.  The plant appears to favour north facing slopes rather than those with a sunnier aspect.

Synonyms:  

  • Echinocactus ritteri Boed.
 

 


( Photo and Copyright by Marco Antonio Arroyo - Mexico )
In habitat ( Rayones, Nuevo Leon )


A 15 year-old seed grown cultivated specimen 
(about 1,5 cm in diameter )

 

 

Photo of conspecific taxa, varieties, forms and cultivars of Aztekium ritterii.

 

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

Photo gallery Aztekium

 
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.