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  Gymnocalycium pfanzii
(Gymnocalycium pflanzii)

Cultivation and Mail Sale
of Cacti and Succulents.

This South American beauty has a green body and nice white flowers with purple throat.

Description: Solitary or slowly clustering, with peculiar spine clusters characteristically bent backward in a distinctive fashion.
Stem: Flattened-globose,10-15 (25)cm in diameter, 10cm tall pale green, to olive green that can tinge of orangish purple in full sun. The epidermis has a velvety appearance. The apex is slightly depressed and woolly.
Ribs: 10 to 12 thick, large, divided into polygonal rounded (not chinned) tubercles, separated by arched furrows.
Roots: Fibrous
Areoles: Large long, oval 10x14 mm, with cream-yellowish wool, then blackish dismantling with time.
Spines: Strong, very stiff, bent backward, initially blackish with a brown base then becoming grey-pinkish to whitish brown with black point.
Radial spines:  (5-)7-9 up to 25 mm long
Central spines: One (or two)  of the same length.
Infundibuliform near the apex, diameter and height 45-50mm. Pericarpell dull green very short. External tepals spatulate, slightly bent outward , white with brownish green midrib. Inner tepals intern narrower, spatulate and slightly denticulate, white with carmine/pink purplish throat. Style carmine with carmine pink 10-12 lobes. Pollen yellow.
Fruit: Globose of approximately 2 cm of diameter, becoming red carmine with maturity. Pulp intense cherry-red.
Seeds: Microsemineum type, section pirisemineum, very small (0.6 X 0.4mm), testa reddish shining and smooth.

It is a very variable species with a wide distribution and several controversial varieties, forms and subspecies has been described. Of them only two has been recognized:

subsp. argentinense coming from Gonzales, Salta, Argentina.
subsp. dorisie coming from Tarija, Bolivia.

 G. pflanzii has fairly heavy spines characteristically bent backward in a distinctive fashion.

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

Photo gallery Gymnocalicium



Family: Cactaceae (Cactus Family)

Conservation status: Listed in CITES appendix 2.

Scientific name:  Gymnocalycium pflanzii (Vaupel) Werdermann 1935

Origin:  South-east of Bolivia, North-West of Paraguay and North of Argentina (Provinces of Salta and Jujuy)

Habitat:  Grows often in deep, rich soil, rather in sunny rocky areas, on slopes or under spiny shrubs.

Etymology: Named in the honour of K Pflanz.


  • Gymnocalycium marquezii Cárdenas1958
  • Gymnocalycium milaresii Cárdenas1966
  • Gymnocalycium pflanzii var. milaresii Cárdenas) Donald 1971
  • Gymnocalycium izozogsii Cárdenas1966
  • Gymnocalycium pflanzii var. izozogsii (Cárdenas) Donald 1971
  • Gymnocalycium chuquisacanum Cárdenas1966
  • Gymnocalycium comaparense Backeberg 1959 Not validly published
  • Gymnocalycium riograndense Cárdenas 1958
  • Gymnocalycium pflanzii var. riograndense (Cárdenas) Donald 1971
  • Gymnocalycium lagunillasense Cardenas 1958
  • Gymnocalycium pflanzii var. lagunillasense (Cárdenas) Donald 1971
  • Echinocactus pflanzii Vaupel 1923
  • Gymnocalycium zegarrae Cárdenas 1958
  • Gymnocalycium pflanzii var. zegarrae  (Cárdenas) Donald 1971
  • Gymnocalycium pflanzii var. albipulpa F. ritter 1980 Not validly published
  • Gymnocalycium pflanzii subsp. argentinense H. Till & W. Till 1988
  • Gymnocalycium pflanzii subsp. dorisiae Amerhausen 1988


Cultivation: Gymnocalycium are very gratifying plants, their culture is easy and their flowering is abundant if we give them a well drained relatively rich substrate (if possible not limestone)  Water regularly in summer (but do not overwater ) keep rather dry in winter, need frequent repottings and a very luminous exposure but avoid direct exposure to the sun rays. This species is particularly easy and accommodating, seldom suffer of cryptogamic diseases. Feed with a high potassium fertilizer  in summer.   Hardy as low as   -5° C (or less) if  kept dry.

Propagation: Direct sow after last frost or offsets. The grafting is useless (excluded the cultivars deprived of chlorophyll), it does not bring anything concrete.

Photo of conspecific taxa, varieties, forms and cultivars of Gymnoclycium pflanzii:

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.