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Accepted Scientific Name: Stenocereus stellatus (Pfeiff.) Riccobono
Boll. Reale Orto Bot. Palermo 8: 253. 1909
Origin and Habitat: Garden origin (Nursery produced cultivar). The wild species occurs over a considerable range from Morelos to Puebla, and Oaxaca in Central Mexico.
Stenocereus stellatus (Pfeiff.) Riccobono
Boll. Reale Orto Bot. Palermo 8: 253. 1909
- Stenocereus stellatus (Pfeiff.) Riccobono
- Cereus stellatus Pfeiff.
- Lemaireocereus stellatus (Pfeiff.) Riccobono
- Neolemaireocereus stellatus (Pfeiff.) Backeb.
- Rathbunia stellata (Pfeiff.) P.V.Heath
- Stenocereus dyckii (Mart. ex Pfeiff.)
- Cereus dyckii Mart. ex Pfeiff.
- Stenocereus stellatus f. cristata hort.
Description: Stenocereus stellatus is a shrubby or treelike columnar cactus, branching at base, rarely branching above, 2-4 m high with short trunks.
Crested form: The crested form Stenocereus stellatus f. cristata is nicely covered with greyish radiating star-like spines and is sought after by collectors, for its unique features. It is also very strong and can grow up to 1 m in diameter and height (or more).
Stems: Fan-shaped, pale to dark bluish green, forming with time imposing brain-like mounds to 1 metre in diameter and height .
Ribs: Up to 2 cm high low, obtuse, distinctly rounded, notched the areoles seated in the notches.
Areoles: 1 to 2 cm apart whitish.
Central spines: One to three, or sometimes more, (Often missing in crested plants) slender often much longer than the others, flattened, one pointed downward, the others upward, 2 to 6 cm long dart brown or blackish at first, fading to grey.
Radial spines: The spine clusters are of 7-9 (sometime up to 13) radials about 12 mm long whitish-grey with dark tips, radiating star-like.
Flowers: Nocturnal, tubular to narrowly campanulate, appearing at or near the top of the plant (Often missing in crested plants), white or pale rose, with reddish sepals, about 4,5-6 cm cm long and 3-4 cm in diameter, tube scarcely flared, ovary bearing small scales subtending wool and bristly spines.
Fruit: Red, spiny, globular, about 3 cm in diameter with spines falling early.
Phenology: Flowers are produced between June and September, and fruits in October.
Seeds: Dull, pitted.
Subspecies, varieties, forms and cultivars of plants belonging to the Stenocereus stellatus group
Bibliography: Major references and further lectures
1) Curt Backeberg “Die Cactaceae: Handbuch der Kakteenkunde.” Volume 3, 1959
2) Theodore H. Fleming, Alfonso Valiente Banuet “Columnar Cacti and Their Mutualists: Evolution, Ecology, and Conservation” University of Arizona Press, 2002
3) Britton & Rose "The Cactaceae" 4: 273, 1923
4) Edward Anderson “The Cactus family” Timber Press, Incorporated, 2001
5) James Cullen, Sabina G. Knees, H. Suzanne Cubey "The European Garden Flora Flowering Plants: A Manual for the Identification of Plants Cultivated in Europe, Both Out-of-Doors and Under Glass" Cambridge University Press, 11/Aug/2011
6) David R Hunt; Nigel P Taylor; Graham Charles; International Cactaceae Systematics Group. "The New Cactus Lexicon" dh books, 2006
7) Thomas H. Everett “The New York Botanical Garden Illustrated Encyclopedia of Horticulture” Volume 10 Taylor & Francis, 1982
8) Casas, A., B. Pickersgill, J. Caballero, and A. Valiente-Banuet. “Ethnobotany and the process of domestication of the xoconochdi Stenocereus stellatus (Cactaceae) in the Tehuacan Valley and La Mixteca Baja, Mexico.” Economic Botany 51:279-92. 1997.
9) Casas, A., J. Caballero, C. Mapes, and S. Zarate. “Manejo de la vegetacion, domesticacion de plantas y origen de la agricultura en Mesoamerica.” Boletin de la Sociedad Botdnica de Mex-ico 61:31-47. 1997
10) Casas, A., A. Valiente-Banuet, and J. Caballero. “La domesticacion de Stenocereus stellatus (Pfeiffer) Riccobono (Cactaceae).” Boletin de la Sociedad Bottinica de Mexico 62:129-40 1998.
11) Casas, A., J. Caballero, and A. Valiente-Banuet. “Use, management and domestication of columnar cacti in south-central Mexico: a historical perspective.” Journal of Ethnobiology 19:71-95. 1999
12) Casas, A., J. Caballero, A. Valiente-Banuet, J. A. Soriano, and P. Davila. “Morphological variation and the process of domestication of Stenocereus stellatus (Cactaceae) in central Mexico.” American Journal of Botany 86:522-33. 1999
13) Casas, A., A. Valiente-Banuet, A. Rojas-Martinez, and P. Davila. “Reproductive biology and the process of domestication of Stenocereus stellutus (Cactaceae) in central Mexico.” American Journal of Botany 86:534-42. 1999
14) Bravo Hollis, “Las Cactaceas de Mexico” 1978
15) Arias, S. & Zavala-Hurtado, A. 2013. Stenocereus stellatus. In: IUCN 2013. “IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.” Version 2013.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 27 March 2014.
Stenocereus stellatus f. cristata Photo by: Valentino Vallicelli
The gallery now contains thousands of pictures, however it is possible to do even more. We are, of course, seeking photos of species not yet shown in the gallery but not only that, we are also looking for better pictures than those already present. Read More...
Cultivation and Propagation: Although regarded as a choice and difficult plant is not too difficult in a greenhouse, but grows quite slowly. It is sometime seen as a grafted plant but grows very well on its own roots too.
Soil: Use mineral well permeable mineral soil with little organic matter (peat, humus).
Exposure: They need a good amount of light shade to full sun this help to keep the plants healthy, although slow growth.
Watering: Water sparingly from March till October (weekly during summertime, if the weather is sunny enough) , with a little fertilizer added. Less or no water during cold winter months, or when night temperatures remain below 10° to prevent root loss. It is sensitive to overwatering (rot prone).
Fertilization: Feeding may not be necessary at all if the compost is fresh then, feed in summer only if the plant hasn't been repotted recently. Do not feed the plants from September onwards as this can cause lush growth which can be fatal during the darker cold months.
Hardiness: Reputedly sensitive to frost, but less so if kept on the dry side prior to, and during, cold weather. However warmth throughout the year will increase the grower's success (8-12°C during rest season). During winter month, put them in a cool luminous place and encourage them to enter winter dormancy by withholding water and fertiliser over the winter as they will etiolate, or become thin, due to lower levels of light.
Crested growth: Unlike 'monstrose' varieties of plants, where the variation from normal growth is due to genetic mutation, crested growth can occur on normal plants. Sometimes it's due to variances in light intensity, or damage, but generally the causes are unknown. A crested plant may have some areas growing normally, and a cresting plant that looks like a brain, may revert to normal growth for no apparent reason. If you have any of the crested part left you need to remove the normal growth and leave the crested part behind this will need to be done regularly.
Propagation: Grafting or cuttings. Plants are usually grafted onto column-shaped cacti but proved to be able to produce their own roots if degrafted. Cuttings will take root in a minimum temperature of 20° C (but better in hot weather). Cuttings of healthy shoots can be taken in the spring and summer. Cut the stem with a sharp, sterile knife, leave the cutting in a warm, dry place for a week or weeks (depending on how thick the cutting is) until a callus forms over the wound. Once the callus forms, the cutting may be inserted in a container filled with firmed cactus potting mix topped with a surface layer of coarse grit. They should be placed in the coarse grit only; this prevents the cut end from becoming too wet and allows the roots to penetrate the rich compost underneath. The cuttings should root in 2 to 6 weeks. Large crested piece must be placed on the soil surface without burying the plant base down in the soil.
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