Astrophytum asterias

This species was discovered in Mexico by a Russian aristocrat who sent several specimens to St Petersburg, all of which eventually died. He also sent one specimen to Professor J. Zuc-carini, at the University of Munich, who described it as Echino-cactus asterias. This specimen also died and the species was considered to be extinct. In 1923 the Czech collector A. V. Frid recognized this cactus on a visit to the botanical garden in Mex ico City. It is considered to be the loveliest species of the Astro-phytum genus. The globose body is absolutely symmetrical, slightly flattened, the crown depressed and covered with brown felt. It is 6 cm high, about 10-25 cm (4-10 in) across, and coloured grey-green. The slightly rounded ribs are fairly insignificant, with a shallow groove in which grey-felted areoles, 5-10 mm across, are spaced. The glossy yellow flowers with carmine throats are 6-7 mm across. This cactus is easily propagated from seed which germinates readily at a temperature of about 25°C (77° F). Like A. myriostigma, it requires plenty of light, heat and moisture in summer. In winter, it needs light and a temperature of about 10°C (50° F).

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