Are Astrophytum Cactus or Succulents? (Cactus Is the Winner)

Are Astrophytum Cactus or Succulents?

Astrophytum myriostigma, known in the west as the bishop’s cactus or the bishop’s cap, is a species of flowering cactus in the Cactaceae family. Astrophytum myriostigma or speckled is a succulent plant without thorns, a columnar cactus at a young age has the appearance of a small spherical plant with usually 5, sometimes 4 (or 3) well-formed ribs.

This charming plant is native to the highlands of central and northeastern Mexico. This thornless species grows at an altitude of 750 to 1500 meters above sea level on stony, limestone soils. Habitat – overgrown plains or steep slopes facing east or west.

The plant has the appearance of a bishop’s miter, hence the name bishop’s cap, and the cross-section of the stem resembles the perfect shape of a star.

The stem of the cactus takes a shape from spherical to cylindrical, grows up to 60-100 cm in height (sometimes up to 1.5 m), and 10-20 cm in diameter when aged.

The color is bright green, covered with many small white hairy scales, which give it a characteristic silvery-white appearance. The scales are composed of very fine intertwined hairs. The roots of Astrophytum speckled are thin and fibrous.

Scientific name: Astrophytum myriostigma

Synonyms: Echinocactus Myriostigma, Astrophytum Columnare, Astrophytum Nuda, Astrophytum Prismaticum, Astrophytum Tulense.

Common name: Bishop’s Cap/Mitre

Family: Cactaceae, Cactus

Height x width: 4-6″ x 2-4″

Growth rate: slow

Flowering Cactus Astrophytum Myriostigma

The glossy yellow flower (yellow, often red-centered) of Astrophytum myriostigma, similar to chamomile, adds to the beauty of the plant. The flower emerges from areoles at the tip of the stem of a mature plant and usually has a diameter of no more than 5 cm and a length of up to 7 cm. Flowering lasts about 2 days.

Early spring or summer are the best times to see yellow flowers with a crimson or orange center.

Even young plants can bloom with the right care, despite their modest rate of growth. Flowers from astrophytum emit a light pleasant scent.

Fruits with a diameter of up to 2.5 cm, that range from green to brownish red, are covered in brown, overlapping scales and have long hairs in the axils.

Popular Varieties and Cultivars of the Cactus Astrophytum Multistigma

Currently, there are more than 100 cultivars (varieties) of this magnificent cactus that were created through artificial breeding. Let’s discuss the most well-known Astrophytum myriostigma types.

Astrophytum Myriostigma Nudum (Astrophytum Myriostigma Var. Nudum)

It does not have white spots on the stem, and its epidermis is smooth. The stem changes with age from a spherical to a cylindrical shape.

The spineless cactus Astrophytum myriostigma var. nudum has a spherical to short-columnar, typically a single stem that can reach heights of up to 3.3 feet (1 m) and a diameter of up to 4 inches (10 cm). Although it lacks the little white hairy scales on the stem, it is quite similar to the conventional form of Astrophytum myriostigma.

Astrophytum Myriostigma Var. Four-Sided

This particular species of Astrophytum myriostigma only has four ribs as opposed to five. When young, it has a stem that is virtually spherical, but as it ages, it becomes columnar. The stem has a maximum diameter of 10 cm and a height of 90 cm.

The flowers are pale yellow, 5 cm long, and appear in spring and summer.

There may be 4 to 8 ribs on the cactus. Usually, there are 5 ribs. There are however variants available with 4, 6, 7, or 8 ribs. Age-related rib division may result in an increase in rib count. The 4-6 cm long flowers are yellow or yellow with a reddish center. The species can withstand direct sunlight rather well. It is indigenous to Mexico’s central to northern highlands.

Due to the 5 ribs and the similar shape, the cactus is also called bishop’s cap in German vernacular. A cool and dry winter location is a guarantee for numerous flowers throughout the summer.

Astrophytum Myriostigma ‘Onzuka’

Attractive cactus with a lot of white spots on its skin. These dazzling white patterns give the stem a mottled appearance. As the cactus ages, the marks’ appearance could change.

Scientific Name

Astrophytum myriostigma ‘Onzuka’


Astrophytum ‘Onzuka’

Scientific Classification

Family: Cactaceae
Subfamily: Cactoideae
Tribe: Cactaceae
Genus: Astrophytum

Astrophytum Myriostigma ‘Onzuka Quadricostatum’

This is a variation of the previous type with four ribs as opposed to five, with an exquisitely marked, snow-white, extensively mottled epidermis. Up to 90 cm tall, quadrangular stem. The plant quickly develops a cylindrical shape as it ages.

Scientific Name

Astrophytum myriostigma ‘Onzuka Quadricostatum’

Scientific Classification

Family: Cactaceae
Subfamily: Cactoideae
Tribe: Cactaceae
Genus: Astrophytum

Take Care of Astrophytum

Astrophytum  (lat. astro – “star” and Greek. phytum – “plant”).

The stem of an astrophytum is often spherical, green, grey-green, or speckled, with 5-8 clearly defined edges. While some species lack any spines at all, others have enormous spines. At the top of the plant, there are funnel-shaped flowers that are 6–9 cm long, primarily yellow, occasionally with a crimson throat.

Seeds are large, dark, and shiny. The fruits are densely covered with hairs, open star-shaped or at the base. 

Growth.Mexico’s northeastern, central, and southwestern areas, as well as southern Texas (USA). Long dry spells, great insolation, and substantial temperature swings are the defining characteristics of the range’s northern and high-mountain regions.

Care. Plants “gratefully” react to top dressing during the growth period – from late spring to mid-summer. 

Watering. Plants are kept in a completely dry, cold (around 10-12 0 C), and extremely bright environment. The temperature is moderate in the spring and summer and dormant in the winter. Both in the winter and the summer, astrophytums enjoy a lot of light and sun. dry air impervious.

Transplant: If necessary, transplant, but only after the roots have completely braided the clay ball. Transplantation is not tolerated by adult astrophytums. They either replace the top layer of the substrate or are moved into a sizable container with a clod of dirt. Plants should be moved gently to avoid damaging the root system because new roots grow slowly.

Reproduction. Astrophytums can be quickly multiplied from seeds. On days 3–5, seeds begin to sprout. Cuttings are not used to spread astrphytums. Vaccines are rarely administered. Grafted specimens become malformed and die quickly.


How Do I Get My Astrophytum to Flower?

It’s easy to forget about your cacti when you plant them, but it’s important to provide care for them throughout the year. As an adult, your Astrophytum will flower every few decades—it’s a special moment, and one that you’ll want to be ready for when it comes. Just how do you get this lovely plant to flower?

The first thing is to keep it watered. While we don’t want to overwater our plants, they need to be kept well-hydrated in order to develop their roots and stems, and flowers. You might consider using supplemental lighting if you’ll be away from home for a few days during the summer or winter months, but otherwise, regular watering should be fine.

When your plant is indoors, you can use a liquid fertilizer every few weeks; during the summer months when it’s outside, you should fertilize once every month or so.

When it comes time to repot your cactus, make sure that you’re using soil specifically designed for your type of cactus. Too rich of soil will cause rot on the roots; too much potting soil can dry the plant out faster than normal soil would.

How Long Do Astrophytum Take to Grow?

The seed packet says that if the seeds are viable, you should start seeing little green sprouts after one week. After a few weeks, you’ll see one or two more little discs appear. It also says that you can place the pot in a brighter spot after a few weeks so that the seedlings get acclimatized to the light.

How Long Do Astrophytum Flowers Last?

The daisy-like flower appears at the top of a mature plant and is usually no more than 2″ inches in diameter. Each flower blooms for about 2 days.

This plant is an excellent choice for landscaping in USDA zones 10 and 11 where there are few freeze/thaw cycles. In colder regions it is best grown as a houseplant, however, it can be overwintered outdoors with protection. A very popular landscape cactus for it’s beauty and ease of care, Astrophytum makes a great addition to any garden!

Can Astrophytum Self-Pollinate?

Although cactus flowers will not produce fruit without the aid of a pollinator, astrophytum plants are self-sterile and can not be pollinated by themselves. Their pollen is also sterile and must be transferred to another plant to produce seed.

There is no guarantee that you will get another flower at the same time as your original plant, but if it does happen, try to collect some of its pollen (if there is any) with a small paintbrush or cotton swab and transfer it to the stigma of the original plant.

How Do You Detect Astrophytum?

Astrophytum asterias

  1. The stem is dark green and flat, with 8 ribs, and many woolly areoles 
  2. There are numerous, loose, hairy scales that are scattered throughout the plant in irregular patterns, occasionally arching around the areoles, or forming a line 
  3.  Large yellow flowers with orange centers are produced, often larger than the plant itself 
  4. Flowers are commonly yellow with a red bas.
  5.  followed by an oval to round fruit, green, pink, or grayish-red in color, densely covered with spines and white wool 
  6. Seeds are 1 mm size and have a shape of a bowl.

Is Astrophytum Asterias Rare?

This species is unique not just for its rarity, but also for its incredibly unusual appearance. It is one of the few species of cactus that have flowers, which are bright yellow when they bloom in late winter or early spring.

Astrophytum asterias is a small spineless cactus that assumes a flat, non-branching form (1). Because A. asterias grows so close to the ground, it is nearly completely buried by the soil in its native habitat 

Common Name: sand dollar cactus

Family Name: Cactaceae

Botanical Name: Astrophytum asterias

Geographic Origin: Texas and Mexico

Where Are Astrophytum Native To?

Astrophytum Asterias is a species of cactus in the genus Astrophytum and is native to small parts of Texas in the United States and Mexico. Common names include sand dollar cactus, sea urchin cactus, star cactus, and star peyote. It is one of the most famous members of the Cactaceae family along with the San Pedro cactus, which is also native to Mexico.


Anwar Hossain

My name is Anwar Hossain. I am a cactus lover, researcher, and cactus blogger.

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