Gymnocalycium damsii


Gymnocalycium anisitsii subsp. damsii
Echinocactus damsii
Gymnocalycium anisitsii subsp. multiproliferum
Gymnocalycium damsii var. boosii
Gymnocalycium damsii var. centrispinum
Gymnocalycium damsii var. centrispinum
Gymnocalycium damsii subsp. evae
Gymnocalycium damsii var. multiproliferum
Gymnocalycium damsii var. rotundulum
Gymnocalycium damsii var. torulosum
Gymnocalycium damsii var. tucavocense


Gymnocalycium damsii is native to Brazil West-Central where the plant can spread up to 800 m of altitude.


Gymnocalycium damsii is a beautiful cactus belonging to the Cactaceae botanical family. The plant has both solitary or forming clumps habit and can reach up to 10 cm in height and 15 cm in diameter. The stem is round, ball-shaped, apically depressed, pale green to brownish green in color, arranged in 10 well marked ribs made of tubercles. The tubercles are toothed and characterized by light and dark horizontal stripes, each tubercle bear an areola. The areoles are small, woolly, whitish to greyish and bear the spines. The 5-8 radial spines are straight, short, harmless, creamy white to yellowish in color with dark tips. The central spines are usually absent. Blooming occurs almost continuously during the year and the blossoms least for twelve days. The flowers are large, funnel-shaped and can have many different color. The petals can be white to pale pink to reddish purple and the stamens are yellow and the calyx is greenish. The fruits are oblong and reddish in color.


This is a slow growing plant, easy to cultivate. The plant needs a full light sun exposure but is recommended to avoid direct sun-light in the hottest periods. The plant does not like temperatures below 7°C so it needs to be placed indoors in the coldest periods. The soil should be mixed with pumice, clay and loam to allow the drainage and prevent the root rot, the plant is prone to it indeed. Remember to use a perforating pot to drain excess water. Watering can be done regularly in Spring and Summer: during the vegetative period you can water the plant (every 7 days), checking that the soil is completely dry before watering again; in winter you should stop the watering to allow the plant to enter dormancy. If you want a faster and lush growth you can fertilize the plant once a month during the growing season with the specific fertilizers for succulents; stop fertilizing throughout the winter. If the pot starts to be too small for the plant you can repot the plant in a pot 2 cm wider. Repotting should be done early in the growing season with fresh new potting soil. Be careful to red spiders and mealy bugs.


Propagation can be done by cutting or by seed. By cutting you can make the cut during the spring and then let the cutting dry; after a few days the cut surface will dry and a callus will form, then place the cutting in a mixture of sand, soil and pumice. To increase the success of propagation you can make two or more cuttings at the same time. For cuttings it is recommended temperatures around 20 °C. By seed it is very simple to propagate the plant, it is enough to sow the seed in a sandy loam soil and keep it with a high level of humidity and at temperature of 14 C°.


Its name comes from the Greek “ghymnòs” (naked) and “càlyx” (calyx) and refers to the calyx of the flower, which is “naked” because it has no scales or hairs to protect it.

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