Gymnocalycium friedrichii

This cactus is native to the open forests of Paraguay, where it tolerates the hot and dry climate as well as the periods of heavy rain. G. friedrichii and G. mihanovichii are two of the most commonly grown species of this genus. It reaches a height of only 5-6 cm (2-2.5 in). The stem has eight sharp ribs coloured brownish-red; in young plants these have pale stripes on the sides and shining skin that looks as if it were wet. The areoles are white and woolly with five long, slightly curved spines. Even young plants have buds covered with naked scales. These develop in early spring and do not finish flowering until autumn. The flowers are pale pink; the fruits are red. The brown seeds are very small.

In Europe, it thrives best in a hotbed or heated greenhouse. Water liberally in summer. In winter it will do without any water for a long time at a temperature of 10°C (50° F). It does not tolerate direct sunlight.

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