Astrophytum myriostigma is one of the most prized cacti in cacti collections around the world for the beauty of its appearance and flowering.
The name of the genus is the combination of the Greek terms “aster” = star and “phyton” = plant, with reference to the arrangement of the ribs; The term of the species is the combination of the Greek terms “myrioi” = ten thousand and by extension, multitude, and “stigma” = mark, with reference to the multitude of tiny white scales that cover the epidermis.
“bishop’s-miter cactus” (English)
“Vesret’s Berretta”, “Vespelian Cappello” (Italian); “Cactus miter d’évêque” (French)
“Peyote cimarrón”, “peyotillo”, “bishop’s hat” (spanish) ; “Bischofsmütze” (German).
It is a native to the highlands of central and northern Mexico (states of Coahuila, Nuevo León, San Luis Potosí and Tamaulipas), more frequent in particular in the Chihuahua desert, where it grows on calcareous rocks at 1500-2000 m of altitude
Astrophytum myriostigma is grown as an ornamental plant in the cactus collections and for its extraordinary beauty, it is being systematically looted from the areas where it grows naturally.
Within the genus, Astrophytum is one of the most appreciated as well as other species such as: Astrophytum capricorne, Astrophytum asterias, Astrophytum ornatum and Astrophytum caput-medusae.
This species is characterized by being a small globose cactus (somewhat columnar with age) with very pronounced ribs that can reach 30 cm in height by approximately 20 cm in diameter.
The most common variety in the market and nature has five ribs but you can find varieties that have three to eight.
The common variety with 5 ribs is popularly called a star cactus because of its similar shape.
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A typical aspect of this cactus is the absence of thorns (in other species of the genus if they are present) and numerous whitish “squamous” structures that cover its entire stem.
These structures contrast with the green color of the stem giving the appearance that it is grayish in color.
Flowering can occur at any time of the year with more emphasis on the summer and spring seasons.
The number of flowers varies depending on the size of the plant, its health and age; They can be formed in a bloom of 1 to 6 flowers or more.
Although the flowers only last 6 to 7 days on the plant.
The flowers appear at the apex of the stem (from the margin of the ribs), are 3 to 7 cm in diameter with a floral tube approximately 5 cm high. They have numerous pale yellow petals, some with brown tips.
The innermost region of flowers may be a bit darker (orange).
In the center of the flowers, there are numerous stamens and a very conspicuous central multilobed stigma.
The plant usually blooms from the sixth year of age.
Because of its intrinsic variability and ease in hybridizing with the other species of the genus, it has given rise and continues to give rise to a large number of crops.
Tips to take care of the Astrophytum myriostigma ‘Bishop’s Cap’
It is one of the simplest plants to grow, due to its resistance to drought and its adaptability.
It is, therefore, perfect for you if you have just started in the world of succulents.
Lots of light for optimal development and flowering.
It is recommended to expose it directly to the sun throughout the year, but protect it from the hottest days of summer (the sun is too strong).
Bishop’s Cap can live in a full sun exposure, but as we mentioned earlier he prefers the semi-shade avoiding direct sun in the central hours of the day.
You need to live in warm environments with very mild winters.
Temperatures should be maintained above 20 ° C during the day and above 10 ° C at night.
It can tolerate brief periods of temperatures below 8 ° C but we always recommend protecting it and not exposing it to avoid possible rot (better safe than sorry).
Very loose and with optimal drainage due to the prolonged moisture of the substrate rotting its roots. It is recommended to use special quality substrates for succulent plants.
The soil should be quite sandy for which we can mix 50% coarse sand, 25% of well decomposed leaf mulch or peat and 25% of light garden soil.
We must water very little because it is susceptible to rotting due to excess water.
In order not to err when watering the plant, wait until the substrate is completely dry before the next watering.
In winter we must keep the substrate dry to avoid problems in the health of the cactus.
For this reason, leave the substrate several days dry before the next watering.
You can also water the biweekly plant or once a month if where you live winter is an intense one.
Plagues and diseases
It is very resistant to pests although mealybugs can attack it like some mollusks (slugs and snails).
Its main health problems are associated with cultivation errors such as excess water or prolonged exposure to intense cold.
Only by seeds that we can obtain by manual pollination of flowers.
The seed of the Astrophytum germinates quite soon and the seedlings grow rapidly; however, there should not be excesses in the irrigation of young plants.
The new seedlings should not be in a strong sun and dry environment and possibly need replanting frequently.
When they mature, they reach a maximum size of about 8 cm to 20 cm.
Adult and / or old plants become senile and have a tendency to succumb to the disease and a weak root system.
Like old plants, death occurs suddenly. Once they reach 10 cm in diameter, they grow slowly and adopt a new staking period, using intervals of every 2 to 3 years.
You should grow them in drier conditions or in more intense sunlight.
They can be grafted to accelerate growth, it usually takes about 5 years to reach maturity. If they are grafted, the growth is faster.
They do not require special subscribers. But if you want to add fertilizer to nourish the plant, you only have to buy a specific fertilizer for succulents, with the least amount of chemicals possible, you just have to follow the instructions specified on the package.
You can also pay with Nitrofoska, pouring a small spoonful every 15 days.
Bishop’s Cap can be both outside and inside, but a lot of natural light has to come to him.
The Astrophytum myriostigma bishop’s-cap plant does not need to be pruned.
Time of planting or transplant:
The best time to plant a Bishop’s Cap is the spring time.
Although this plant does not need a transplant, if you want to change the pot of your plant, as in the plantation the best time to do it is in the spring
Hybrids and crosses
The genus of the Astrophytum, is very given to the realization of crossings and hybridizations between its members.
The crossings of Astrophytum Asterias and Astrophytum coahuilense, results in an As-Co hybrid, asterias-coahuilense.
Graphically, we can find specimens that go from being round like asteria and with 5 ribs like Coahuilense, to have 8 less pronounced ribs.
Even a hybrid as beautiful and different as the one in the photo above.