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Astrophytum Capricorne – Goat’s Horns Cactus

Astrophytum capricorne with yellow flower

The Goat’s Horns Cactus or Astrophytum Capricorne is a species of cactus globose (columnar over the years) of medium size (can reach more than 1 meter high) native to Mexico. This species is well known in collections around the world due to the wide variety of forms that can be found. It is the slowest growing plant within the genus Astrophytum.

Popularly known as Cactus Scorpion, Cactus Capricorn or Cactus Horn of goat. This name comes from the long, curly shape of its thorns.

As is the Scorpion Cactus or Astrophytum capricorne.

 

 

The Scorpion Cactus or Capricorn, Astrophytum capricorne

Astrophytum capricorne is a species of cactus globose (columnar over the years) of medium size (can reach more than 1 meter high) native to Mexico. This species is well known in collections around the world due to the wide variety of forms that can be found. It is the slowest growing plant within the genus Astrophytum.

 

 

This cactus is characterized by 6-8 ribs (some can divide to form two smaller ones in length, the divisions usually occur in central or superior regions of the stem, and fusions can occur in the ribs) very pronounced and irregularly curved . All the ribs are different, that is, the general shape of this cactus is asymmetric.

There are different varieties of this species where the surface of the ribs, can present structures similar to small white scales. There are varieties with a lot of “scales”, others with few “flakes” and a totally nude variety.

Each rib has numerous areoles on its edge, in which 4-20 spines of large size (+/- 6 cm long) are available, quite fragile and very curved. Generally these spines are curved on the stem creating as a network.

There are also varieties with few or many spines. The thorns may be grayish or dark brown. In addition, at the base of the areolas you can see many white hairs.

 

The flowering is wonderful and is one of the species of the genus with the largest flower (+/- 6 cm in diameter). These arise from the areolas closest to the apex of the plant. The flowers have a floral tube about 3 cm long; The corolla has numerous petals of bright yellow color with its innermost red region. A large amount of hair is observed between the apices of the house petal (like a spider’s web). The center of the flowers is red with numerous yellow stamens and a central multi-lobed stigma.

The time of flowering begins in the spring until the end of summer.

The fruits are small and woolly. These have small, sharp scaly structures.

The fruits are small, woolly, about 2.5 cm in diameter and covered with flattened spines.

These have small, sharp scaly structures.

How to cultivate the Astrophytum Capricorne

The cactus Astrophytum Capricorne is considered a difficult plant crop but in reality does not need such rigorous care and can be grown without problems by amateurs. Then your care:

Light:

It should be grown in well-lit areas. It is advisable to expose it to the direct sun for its good development but protecting it from the intense midday sun (mainly in summer).

Temperatures:

Always warm for a better crop. The ideal range is between 15-30 ° C. It can tolerate temperatures below 5 ° C for short periods. Cold tolerance only occurs if the substrate is completely dry.

 

Substratum:

This species, like most cacti, requires a well permeable substrate. The accumulation of water can bring with it the rotting of the roots and the plant in general. It is recommended to use substrates based on gravel and coarse sand; It is not recommended to use a lot of organic substrate.

Watering frequency:

Water 3-5 days after the substrate dries completely. Cacti of the genus Astrophytum need less water than most cacti and are more susceptible to rotting due to excess of this. Be careful with excesses. Irrigation should therefore be moderate, irrigation from March to October and almost zero in winter, depending on the outside temperature.

Plagues and diseases:

Pests are rare but may appear. The most common are cochineals; eliminate them if they appear. The main pathology that can occur in this cactus is stem rot caused by excess water and cold.

 

Multiplication:

Only by seeds that can be obtained by manual pollination of the flowers of two plants. Two cacti are needed to obtain fruits, that is, no self-pollination occurs in the flowers.

 

 

Curiosity.

Capricorn Astrophytum Cacti and their varieties are very variable in their habitat and even in small areas.

The plants vary in the number, length, shape and color of the twisted spines and in the size of the stems.

It presents many varieties, such as the following:

Astrophytum capricorne var. crassispinum
Astrophytum capricorne var. crassispinum

Astrophytum capricorne var. minor or minus
Astrophytum capricorne var. minor or minus

Astrophytum capricorne var. niveum
Astrophytum capricorne var. niveum

Astrophytum capricorne var. aureum
Astrophytum capricorne var. aureum
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