Gymnocalycium eurypleurum


No synonyms are found for this species name.


Gymnocalycium eurypleurum is indigenous to a minute, desolate region in northern Paraguay, stretching close to the border of Bolivia, known as Cerro Leon, covering an approximate area of 120 square kilometers.
This cactus thrives at altitudes ranging from 100 to 600 meters above sea level. Its natural habitat is characterized by arid thorny woodlands, reaching a height of up to 6 meters, adorned with dense shrubs that become nearly impenetrable. Many trees in this habitat shed their leaves during the winter months, specifically from June to September. Gymnocalycium eurypleurum coexists with opuntias (prickly pears) and various species of bromelias. The soil composition in this area consists of clayey silt, overlaid with loess and loess clay. It boasts abundant nutrient content, with a pH value ranging between 6.8 and 7.2. During prolonged dry spells, the ground hardens significantly. Annual rainfall in this region spans from 500 to 800 millimeters. Winter temperatures can drop as low as 0°C, while summer temperatures can soar up to 50°C. Gymnocalycium eurypleurum thrives in a remote locale that rarely witnesses human visits. Fortunately, there are no identified threats to its existence. The species appears to be widespread and is found within a protected area.


Gymnocalycium eurypleurum is a highly variable, low-growing species, particularly concerning its spination. While some plants display minimal spination, others boast a more heavily armed appearance. This species has a solitary growth habit, never forming clusters. The stem is glossy green, transitioning to a dull olive-green or brownish hue, and typically takes on a flattened globular shape. Mature plants might develop a slightly short columnar form, measuring approximately 7-15(-20) cm in diameter, with a somewhat sunken apex. The ribs of Gymnocalycium eurypleurum are usually 7-12 (but sometimes up to 16) and appear very flat and broad, with subtle protuberances and a small horizontal indentation above the areoles. The areoles are covered with some tomentum. As for the spines, they are stout, awl-shaped, and occur in clusters of about 7, ranging from glassy white to light-brown in color. These spines are mostly straight and can be 10-30(-60) mm long. They are symmetrically arranged and often curve upwards away from the cactus body. Generally, no central spines are present, but if they are, they share the same length as the others. When it comes to flowering, the bell-shaped flowers primarily emerge near the apex of the cactus. They are pure white or white with a hint of lilac, with inner petals being white to light pink, and outer petals displaying a light purple hue with a dark purple center strip. The filaments and style are white, while the anthers range from creamy-white to pale yellow. This species blooms freely throughout the summer. Regarding fruits, they are either round or barrel-shaped, measuring around 20 mm in diameter, and have a red color with scales of the same hue. The fruits are juicy and of a carmine color. Gymnocalycium eurypleurum seeds are almost nodular and appear yellowish-brown with very fine protuberances. They are about 0.7 mm in length, and the hilum is thin, long, and white.


Gymnocalycium eurypleurum is a summer-growing species that poses no significant cultivation challenges. During the summer, it’s essential to water the plant regularly, but caution should be exercised not to overwater it. In the winter, the cactus should be kept almost dry, with a minimum temperature of 0°C. It prefers a relatively rich substrate and low pH compost, avoiding limestone, as this can halt its growth.
To promote healthy growth, it’s recommended to feed the plant with a high-potassium fertilizer during the summer months. When kept dry, it exhibits considerable frost resistance, withstanding temperatures as low as -5°C.
Due to its expansive root system, Gymnocalycium eurypleurum requires ample space. Therefore, repotting should be performed every other year or when the cactus outgrows its current pot. Fortunately, this species is known for its ease of care and adaptability, rarely suffering from cryptogamic diseases.
When it comes to sun exposure, providing light shade is ideal. Although the plant may tolerate bright locations, it can be prone to sun scorch or stunted growth if exposed to direct sunlight during the hottest part of summer days. Balancing its sunlight exposure will contribute to its overall health and well-being.


Propagation of Gymnocalycium eurypleurum can be achieved through direct sowing after the last frost. However, it’s worth noting that this species only occasionally produces offsets, making seeds the primary method of propagation. For successful seed collecting, it is essential to permit the fruit to fully ripen on the plant. Patience is key, as the fruit must reach a state of significant overripeness before harvesting the seeds. Once the fruit is ready, it’s time to carefully collect the seeds.
The process of seed collection begins with carefully removing the ripe fruit from the cactus. It’s important to ensure that the fruit has reached the optimal level of maturity to guarantee viable seeds. Once harvested, the next step involves cleaning the seeds thoroughly. This can be done by gently washing away any remaining fruit pulp or debris to prevent potential contamination and to enhance germination rates. After cleaning, the seeds must be allowed to dry completely. It is recommended to place them on a clean, dry surface and allow air circulation to facilitate the drying process. Properly dried seeds can then be stored in a cool, dry location, preferably in airtight containers or seed envelopes. Maintaining the right storage conditions ensures the seeds remain viable for an extended period.


The botanical name “Gymnocalycium eurypleurum” has an interesting etymology. The genus name “Gymnocalycium” comes from two Greek words, “gymno” meaning “naked” or “bare,” and “kalyx” meaning “calyx” or “cup-shaped structure.” This name was given to the genus because its flowers lack the typical calyx found in most plants. As for the species name “eurypleurum,” it also has Greek origins, with “eurys” meaning “broad” or “wide,” and “pleura” meaning “side” or “rib.” This name possibly refers to the cactus’s broad or wide ribs or sides.

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