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  Ariocarpus retusus CACTUS ART

Cultivation and Mail Sale
of Cacti and Succulents.

 Only the leaf-like rosette of tubercles is visible on this plant.
Ariocarpus retusus is the largest species of the genus.  It is also one of the easiest and fastest to grow.  It might still take 6-10 years, to go from seeds to flowering size.

Description: Solitary, slow growing geophyte cactus with tubercles slightly projecting above ground level. The flat tuberous body is below the soil.
Stem: Grey, or blue-green, flattened, globose, rounded on top, 3-12cm high, 10-25cm in diameter.
Tubercles: Leaflike, divergent, erect, basally compressed, usually becoming attenuate at the apices, convex or nearly flattened adaxially and often with shallow adaxial undulations or wrinkling, not fissured, 1.5-4cm long, 1-3.5cm wide, nearly as wide as long;
at the tips of the tubercles, rounded, 1-5mm in diameter.
Flowers: Diurnal 4-5cm in diameter., 2-4 2cm long; white to pink (or magenta), occasionally with reddish midribs,
Root: Tap root
Flowering time: October
Fruit: white, green, or rarely pinkish, 10-25mm long, 3-10mm in diameter.

Ariocarpus retusus is an extremely variable species

Ariocarpus retusus SB240 Matehuala

A. retusus LH453 Las Tablas, SLP. MX

A. retusus SB68 Coronel, SLP, Mexico.

Cultivation: This species is slow growing but certainly not as slow as some other types of cacti, it is of easy culture in a well drained, non-organic, free-draining soil compost, with ample water during the growing season. Use of a weak low-nitrogen fertilizer during the growing season can encourage growth. The main threat to their development is root rot. Ariocarpus should be kept dry whenever there is a threat of cold. The appearance of Ariocarpus can benefit greatly by watering the plants from the bottom. This practice will help to keep the “wool” on the top of the plant from becoming matted or discoloured. Need light shade to full sun. Frost Tolerance: Hardy to -10° C

Propagation: It is probably the easiest species of the genus to raise from seed, but will generally take about 6-10 years to reach flowering size, occasionally grafted.

The pointed tubercles are usually smooth with areoles.

A. retusus  LH453 Las Tablas, SLP.

A. retusus SB68 Coronel, SLP.


A. retusus
SB240 Matehuala, SLP

A. retusus forma Matehuala (Köhres seeds)
This population has dark green long and stiff tubercles.

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

Photo gallery Ariocarpus



Family: Cactaceae (Cactus Family)

Scientific name: Ariocarpus retusus Scheidweiler, (1838)
Pubblished in: Bull. Acad. Sci. Brux. 5: 492

Conservation status: Listed in CITES Appendix I


  • Anhalonium prismaticum Lemaire 1839
    = Mammillaria prismatica
  • Ariocarpus elongatus Lee 1937Scientific
    = Anhalonium elongatum Salm-Dyck 1850
  • Ariocarpus pulvilligeris
  • Anhalonium areolosum,

Common name: Living Rock, Seven Stars

Origin: widely distributed from north of Saltillo, Coahuila southwards to San Luis Potosi, SLP, Also found occur in Tamaulipas , Zacatecas and Nuevo Leon.

Habitat: High Chihuahuan desert at altitudes of between 1300 and 2000 metres, on calcareous hillsides and occasionally gypsum plains. At lower altitudes (200 - 800m) of the Sierra Madre Oriental it is replaced by A. retusus ssp. trigonus.


Ariocarpus retusus
is an extremely variable species,. Tubercle size and shape vary widely, a terminal areole is sometimes present at the tip. The vast amount of phenotypic variation in the species has led to the erection of several variants:

  • A. retusus ssp. retusus: widespread, flowers are cream or white, occasionally with reddish midveins.
  • A. retusus ssp. trigonus: somewhat less widespread with long sharp tubercles  twice as long as wide. The flowers are yellow (usually), white to pinkish white.
  • A. retusus v. furfuraceus: applied to plants with equilaterally triangular shaped tubercles
  • A. retusus ‘furfuraceus’ var. rostratus refers to plants with a more tapered apex to the tubercle.
  • A. retusus v. scapharostroides plants from the Villa Juarez region of SLP, it is characterized by erect angular tubercles, superficially reminiscent of A. scapharostrus.
  • A. retusus confusus nomina nuda
  • A. retusus subsp. jarmilae nomina nuda
  • A. retusus subsp. horaceki nomina nuda
  • A. retusus var. pectinatus nomina nuda
  • A. retusus subsp. panarottoi nomina nuda
  • A retusus var. minimus is a nomina nuda which has recently been applied to plants from Echido Nuncio,in San Luis Potosi.
  • A. retusus f. major applied to selected cultivated plants with very broad shaped tubercles (“Tama-botan” in Japan).

A. retusus LH453 Las Tablas, SLP. MX

Photo and © copyright by Andrea B. (Bologna, Italy)


Photo of conspecific taxa, varieties, forms and cultivars of Ariocarpus retusus.

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.