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Astrophytum caput-medusae is new discovered species. It is very rare cactus plant
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October 2002, the first description is published in the Mexican magazine "cactaceae suculentas mexicanas y".
In 2003, David Hunt recombine the new taxon as a new species of the genus Astrophytum, because of its flower, its fruit, its seeds and flaking characteristic of Astrophytum.
September 2005, the first caput-medusae may be for sale by auction in Germany open. This is a small one transplant seedlings a year already well developed (3.5 cm high and 2.5 cm wide).
The price rose to 432 euros!
Description of Astrophytum caput-medusaeScientific name: Astrophytum caput-medusae (Velazco & Nevarez) D. Hunt comb. nov. 2003
Author: M. Nevárez de los Reyes M. and C. Velazco Macías
Type locality: Mexico, Nuevo León,
Habitat: Matorolar espinoso tamaulipeco
Date: August 28 2001Conservation: Listed in CITES appendix 2.
Synonims: Digitostigma caput-medusae Velazco & Nevarez 2002
Grows among shrubs in the Matorral espinoso tamaulipeco(Tamaulipan thornscrub land) in shaded position.
Description: Solitary or rarely clustered up to 19 of eight.
Stem: Very reduced, shortly cylindrical, lacking ribs, with papyraceous bristles covering the collar and the stem apex, the bristles probably originate from the basal rest of the tubercles, the colour of the bristles of tubercles is coffee whit reddish tones, the stem bristle of plants growing in habitat rarely exceed the ground level.
Tubercles: Cylindrical or occasionally triangular when young, of cartilaginous consistency, smooth, could appear similar in aspect to leaves, up to 190 mm in length and of 2 to 5 mm wide, some times the adaxial portion of the base of the tubercle is cuneate. Epidermis verrucose, glaucous-green, covered by stigmas (squamiform peltate trichomes) of a greyish-white colour, covering almost the totality of the epidermis towards the base of the the tubercle.
Areoles : Dimorphic; the spiniferous one are terminals, circular or elliptical, with white wool; the floriferous one are located in the adaxial subterminal portion, separated from the spiniferous from 18 to 46 mm elliptical, with white wool, but noticeably larger than the spiniferous areoles.
Spines: 0 up to 4, generally persisting in old tubercles, of 1 to 3 mm in length, semi-erect, rigid, the base is whitish with a dark-coffee apex.
Roots: Primary root fusiform, fleshy; secondary roots fibrous. The root is of the same dimension or slightly smaller of the aerial part.
Flowers: Originates in the subterminal portion of the developing tubercles, not in the plant apex. The flowers are diurnal, yellow, with the base of the inner perianth segments orange coloured. Outer segments greenish yellow, The receptacular tube displays papyraceous, lanceolate scales, with terminal aristae and short white hairs in the axil; Lanceolate scales with white hairs in the axil are also presents in the pericarpel.
Fruit: Green and fleshy when young, covered with lanceolate scales with wool in the axil, dry when ripe with irregular longitudinal dehiscence.
Seeds: Big, up to 3 mm in length, cap-like, testa tuberculate , black or dark coffee coloured; hilum basal and very deep, micropyle, outside the hilum, but adjacent.
Cultivation:The specific requirements of this new and very particular plant still need be investigated.
In this two years we have done some preliminary observation on a very limited sample of seedlings: