Yavia is one of the most recently described genera in the Cactus family. It is a monotypic genus named after Argentina's department Yavi, Jujuy Province, where the only species in the genus, Yavia cryptocarpa, is endemic to sparsely vegetated rocky slopes. The specific epithet "cryptocarpa" refers to the plant being a cryptocarp, which means that the fruits are formed inside the plant's body, thus only visible when the plant shrinks in the drought period. It is a very mimetic plant that takes the color of the surrounding rocks.
Y. cryptocarpa is a small globular cactus that consists primarily of a single stem but may clump, especially when grafted. Ribs are present but hardly noticeable beyond the rows of fuzzy-white areoles that feature tiny reddish-brown spines. Flowers are pink with a short, thick floral tube.
Despite the recent discovery of this species, it is rapidly propagated by enthusiasts, and it becomes more and more available each year.
Growing Conditions and General Care
Y. cryptocarpa loves to be in a very bright exposure, but generally not to direct sunlight. The risk, especially during the hottest hours of the summer days, is to get sunburned.
This cactus is very susceptible to rot and therefore requires well-drained soil. Use a potting mix that is labeled for cacti or succulents.
Water during the growing period and let the soil dry out between waterings. Keep dry as soon as the temperature starts dropping, and keep it perfectly dry in winter at 40 to 60 °F (5 to 15 °C).
Y. cryptocarpa needs to be kept in a cool place during winter rest and can tolerate sporadic frost if kept on the dry side before and during cold weather with little danger of being killed. However, in cultivation, it is better not to expose it to temperatures lower than 40 °F (5 °C), even if in an aerated and protected location.
This cactus is a slow grower and does not need much fertilizer. Just a couple of times per year will do. But if you want to fertilize your cactus regularly, do so in spring and summer.
Repot as needed, preferably during the warm season. Make sure the soil is dry before repotting, then gently remove the pot.
Y. cryptocarpa is usually propagated by seed. It is often grafted to accelerate growth, as they would generally take at least a decade to reach maturity on their own.
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