Friday, September 21, 2007
Astrophytum capricorne V. minus
This interesting cactus, called Goat’s Horn Cactus because the long, twisted spines are said to resemble goat’s horns, comes from the Northern Mexican grasslands. When in its native habitat, the cactus spines provide a means for the cactus to blend in with the grass.
The A. capricorne V. minus is a smaller version of the A. capricorne. It has fewer white flecks, and produces far more seeds in the fruit than the larger A. capricorne. The flowers are yellow with a red throat, quite large and fragrant, and they bloom in spring through late summer. My cactus has not yet produced flowers as it is only two years old. Next spring should bring its first flowers.
Although the spines look wicked, they are actually very fragile and bendable, and can easily be broken from the plant. This is one of the reasons that collectors who enter their specimens in Cactus Shows like to grow them from seed. That way, they can protect the spines from damage and have a more perfect specimen that shows well.
This cactus is sensitive to over watering, even in summer. It is not a good plant to have in areas where there is high humidity in winter, a time when it should be kept very dry.
The genus Astrophytum contains only about six species. Seed collectors like to cross-pollinate the flowers among the various species in the genus to obtain an endless number of hybrids.