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Cintia knizei


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of Cacti and Succulents.


Cintia knizei is a very rare small alpine cactus native to the high Andes of Bolivia.

Description:   It is a solitary dwarf, flat to globose cactus (in the wild), that become cylindrical when it is grafted.
Stem:  Globose up to 5 cm in diameter; covered with large rounded podaria. The colour can vary from olive-green to purple to brown, depending on the time in the growing season and the amount of sun and water, woolly apex. The base becomes corky with age.
Areoles : The areoles are sunken between the podaria, and are woolly.
Spines: 5-6 short spines only occur on juvenile areoles; adult plants and pericarpel are spineless.
Roots: Deep, tuberous, carrot-like, up to 10 cm long.
Flower: Diurnal, yellow  3-4 cm in diameter on the stem tip, they resemble those of a Copiapoa.
Fruit: Elonged, dry with a thin pericarp, that remain for a long time incorporated within the stem.
Seeds: Black 1,2 mm long 0,7 mm large, the surface is convex and smooth.
Phenology: Blossoming:  in spring.



These plants come from mountainous areas, so like bright light, cool and dry conditions in the winter; this is important for the flowers as well as for their health. Without this cool winter period (0-10° C) they normally won't get many buds. They have a thick taproot and are of difficult cultivation and rot prone because of a great sensitivity to the excess of watering, not easy to get to any large size on their own roots really a challenge to grow into a large clump. They are commonly grafted to avoid root problems and to make easier to grow. Sun Exposure: Suited for sunny-brightly exposure; can tolerate light shade.
Cultural Practices: Suited for airy exposures. Needs deep pot and good drainage to accommodate its tap root.
It is very cold resistant as low as to -10° C or less for short periods of time. It is a fine plant for a rock garden or container, contrasts well with agaves, yuccas, and low-growing flowering plants.
Pests & diseases:   Cintia is especially prone to root rot, therefore, underpot in a smaller container filled with very porous compost.
On a graft the plants are easier to grow, but the body splits if over-watered (especially in spring).

Propagation: Seeds, also can be grown from cutting or graft.  Seeds can be sown in the spring or summer. The seedlings should not be disturbed until they are well rooted, after which they can be planted separately in small pots.

A young specimen ( Height less than 2 cm)

Basal tubercles
become corky with age.


5-6 short spines only occur on juvenile areoles.

Photo by Yannick Gregorn (Slovenia)



Family: Cactaceae (Cactus Family)

Scientific Name: Cintia knizei Řiha 1996   Published in: Jan Říha, Cintia Kníže et Říha - A new cactus from Central Bolivia, Kaktusy (Brno), 31(2): (35)38 (1995) (as Cintia knizei).

Basionym: Cintia knizei


  • Copiapoa knizei (Riha) Halda 1998
  • Rebutia cintia (Riha) Hjertson 2003
    Published in: Cactaceae Systematics Initiatives, 15: 10 (april 2003).
  • Cintia lecoriensis n.n.
  • Cintia napina n.n.
  • Cintia subterranea n.n.

Distribution: High Bolivian Andes at 2800-4000 of elevation.
The first plants where found at Cinti near Otavi, Potosi
department in Bolivia.

Habitat: Alpine, with great temperature variation.


genus name name "Cintia" is named after the town of  "Cinti" near Otavi, Potosi in Bolivia, land of origin of this plant.
The species name "knizei" is
named after the plants discoverer "Karel Knize" who discovered this plant.


Conservation status: Listed in CITES appendix 2.




Taxonomy: This plant was discovered by the well known Czech collector of cacti Karel Kniže in 1969, but not formally described until 1996, by Jan Řiha.
Since the plant was different to all the known
species, Dr. Jan Řiha and Karel Kniže established a new genus and named it Cintia, after the province where the plant was discovered.
The genus Cintia comprises only one
species validly described (Kniže mentions three, but only one has been described). This species was first distributed by Kniže as Cintia napina n.n., but when it was finally published it was named Cintia knizei.
The other name Knize used was Cintia subterranea while a third was refereed to as Cintia species nova. They all look the same. They also produce the same type of flowers and even flower at the same time.
The small yellow flowers develop extremely fast. It is close related with Neowerdermannia.


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

Photo gallery cintia

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.