Astrophytum capricorne


Echinocactus capricornis
Astrophytum senile
Astrophytum capricorne var. senilis


Astrophytum capricorne is native to Northern Mexico, endemic in the Chihuahuan Desert.


This cactus grows solitary, in a columnar or globose shape. Young globose plants will become ovoid or columnar, up to 1,2 m tall; characteristic white woolly specks covers the plant surfaces. The cactus presents 8 ribs, on which verticarl rows of areoles are situated. Spines are particular in this genus: they are 5-10, 7 cm long, curved and twisted, grey to brown. In older plants, spines get more irregular and fragile. During summer, Astrophytum capricorne bloom in yellow flowers with a red central part.


Astrophytum capricorne is a slow, summer-growing cactus. It needs a sandy-gritty, very well-draining soil; to grow healhty, it needs very good sun and airy exposure; it is heat tolerant, while it needs to be kept perfectly dry to avoid frosting damage. During growing season, water it regularly once a week, and feed them once with a high potash – low nitrogen fertilizer.


Propagation can easily be done by seeds. During spring, put them in containers with fine, well-draining sandy soil. Seeds can be sown in pots of fine, well-drained sandy soil: cover them with a fine layer of grit and water with fungicide. For the first two weeks keep the humidity level high covering the pots with a sheet of glass; replace it with light shade-cloth, and for the next two weeks mist once or twice a day. Then, mistings can be done every two and every three days. In the end, rooted seedlings can be planted separaterly in small containers.


Astrophytum capricorne, or “Goat’s Horn” is named after the characteristic shape of its long. curled and twisted spines.

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