Family: Cactaceae.
Habitat: Semi-desert habitats in Mexico and the United States, particularly Texas.
Cultivation: Put it in a bright spot, water it regularly in Summer and rarely in Winter, choose a well-draining substrate.
Curiosity: In some classifications Ancistrocactus is considered synonymous of Sclerocactus and the two genuses are merged.


Ancistrocactus is a genus of plants belonging to the Cactaceae family and native to semi-desert habitats in Mexico and the United States, particularly Texas. In some classifications Ancistrocactus is considered synonymous of Sclerocactus and the two genuses are merged.

They are small cacti, reaching a maximum height of 15 centimeters, and more or less spherical in shape. Their green or green-blue stem is densely covered with tubercles: each tubercle has an areole from which the numerous, hooked, light yellow or variously colored thorns branch. These thorns are outdivided into radial ones, which grow around the areole forming a sort of circle, and central ones that instead grow facing outwards. By “areole” we mean a small circular area from which the cactus thorns grow. The areola is an important distinctive character of the different genuses of cacti. In Ancistrocactus the areola is a kind of white, spherical nipple. Ancistrocactus have so many thorns that it is literally impossible not to get hurt trying to touch the green part of the stem, so handle them carefully!

At the beginning of Spring Ancistrocactus show a beautiful flowering: at the top of their globular stem some flowers appear, red, yellow or green depending on the species, and then they turn into small oval fruits.


Here below are a few species of Ancistrocactus. Check our online store to find out more ones!

  • Ancistrocactus brevihamatus
  • Ancistrocactus crassihamatus
  • Ancistrocactus mathssonii
  • Ancistrocactus megarhizus
  • Ancistrocactus scheeri
  • Ancistrocactus tobuschii
  • Ancistrocactus uncinatus
  • Ancistrocactus uncinatus subsp. crassihamatus


The Ancistrocactus, following a few simple cultivation tips, can give you great satisfaction.

  • Place them in a bright and well ventilated place, under direct sunlight.
  • These cacti can withstand very well low temperatures, up to 2ºC or in some cases even below 0ºC, as long as their substrate is kept completely dry when it gets cold.
  • Ancistrocactus often develope root rot: be careful with watering! From April to October you need to moisten the soil about every 10 days, when it dries completely up. From October onwards irrigation must be completely stopped.
  • The soil should be very well drained. A mix for succulent can be good and you can find it in nurseries.

Ancistrocactus do not produce shoots and it would be difficult to propagate them by cutting. Frequently they are grafted on other cacti. Another possible method is seeding.

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