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Obregonia denegrii (Artichoke Cactus)

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Scientific Name

Obregonia denegrii Frič

Common Names

Artichoke Cactus

Synonyms

Ariocarpus denegrii, Strombocactus denegrii

Scientific Classification

Family: Cactaceae
Subfamily: Cactoideae
Tribe: Cacteae
Genus: Obregonia

Description

Obregonia denegrii is the only representative of its monospecific genus and is related to Ariocarpus. The stem is solitary, globular-squashed, resembling an inverted pine cone with a woolly center. It is grayish-green to dark green and up to 6 inches (15 cm) in diameter. The flowers grow between the wool of the apex, in the center of the stem on young tubercles. They are diurnal, funnel-shaped, white, and up to 1 inch (2.5 cm) in diameter. Fruits are hidden in the wool, pear-shaped, white, naked, fleshy and edible.

Photo by Plant Valley

Hardiness

USDA hardiness zones 9a to 11b: from 20 °F (−6.7 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).

How to Grow and Care

This slow-growing cactus isn't always the easiest species to cultivate but can enlarge relatively fast when well grown. It is often seen as a grafted plant but grows very well on its roots too.

It needs very well-drained soil with little organic material (peat, humus). Requires full sun to develop good compact growth and watering should be rather infrequent, to keep the plant flat shaped and not become excessively elongated and unnatural in appearance. Use water sparingly from spring to fall and keep perfectly dry in winter or when night temperatures remain below 50 °F (10 °C). It is hardy to 20 °F (-6.7 °C) for a short period, in the rest period no high atmospheric humidity. Ensure good ventilation.

It is propagated almost exclusively by seeds. But the seedlings are tiny and very slow-growing, and at first, they take 1 or 2 years to reach the diameter of 0.2 inches (0.5 cm).

Origin

Obregonia denegrii is native to Mexico. It occurs at an altitude of about 1,000 meters above sea level.

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