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Astrophytum asterias 'Shinshowa Red'

Astrophytum asterias 'Shinshowa Red'


Scientific Name

Astrophytum asterias 'Shinshowa Red'

Synonyms

Astrophytum asterias 'Showa Red', Astrophytum asterias 'Shinshowa Akabana', Astrophytum asterias 'Syowa Kabuto'

Scientific Classification

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

Description

Astrophytum asterias 'Shinshowa Red' is one of the most popular cultivars of Astrophytum asterias. It has grey-green to dull green stem dotted with numerous tufts of bright white wool. The stem is up to 2.8 inches (7 cm) tall, up to 6 inches (15 cm) in diameter and divided into 8 broad ribs. The flowers are up to 3 inches (7.5 cm) in diameter and come in shade of dark pinkish-red, orange-red or purple wine-red.

Hardiness

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

How to Grow and Care

Astrophytums are not vigorous plants and they require a lot of patience to reach their full potential. Keep regularly watering and feeding them during the growing season and repot annually to give them space to develop. They need a temperate, dry winter as well and make sure not to overwater them to avoid rotting their roots. If given sufficient care, they will develop marvelous flowers once they reach maturity. Watch out for common cactus pests like aphids and scale, as well. These can often be taken care of by a good eco-friendly pesticide or simply wiped away with a cloth.

Repot regularly to help them develop. Astrophytums should be repotted at the beginning of the growing season for best results, allowing them to grow into the impressive specimens for which the genus is known. Protect your hands before repotting due to their stiff spikes and lift the plant out all at once, then replace in a larger pot and backfill with soil. Don't overwater or overfeed newly repotted cacti, as disturbances can be hard on them.

Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Astrophytum.

Origin

Astrophytum asterias 'Shinshowa Red' is a cultivar of Astrophytum asterias.

Links

  • Back to genus Astrophytum
  • Succulentopedia: Browse succulents by Scientific Name, Common Name, Genus, Family, USDA Hardiness Zone, Origin, or cacti by Genus

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Astrophytum asterias 'Shinshowa Red' - garden

Accepted Scientific Name: Astrophytum asterias cv. Akabana
= cv. Rote Bluete (Red flowering form)

Origin and Habitat: Garden origin (Nursery produced cultivar).
Perhaps this plants are not 100% pure Astrophytum asterias but they may have a certain degree of hybrid origin.

Description: This is an unusual variety, with red blooms, which is very uncharacteristic of this genus and a rarity in collections. This selected cultivars bears beautiful flowers shaded in dark pinkish-red, orange-red, purple or wine-red with usually even darker flower edges. However a very few red flowered specimens will appear time by time among normal yellow flowered plants, and are very rare. They are sought after collector and are sold (when available) for very high ciphers for that reason. Their traditional source, of course, is Japan but they are also found in European collections too. And also - like for the normal Astrophytum - their flower colour tends to increase a darker tone ageing.
Stem: Non-branched, flat, dark green. Diameter 3(8)16 cm. Height 2 to 6 cm. Just flat to the ground surface.
Ribs: Generally it has eight flat ribs, rare few or more.
Spines: Not any.
Hairy scales: Usually loose, sprinkled over the stem in irregular patterns, sometimes arched around the areoles or on line.
Areoles: Round, cream-colored till white hairy up to 6 (3-12) mm) of diameters. The areoles are normally set in a separation up to 10 mm, but can be very close one to each other at cultivated plants.
Flowers: At the apex from the vegetation point, up to 75 mm in diameter. This cultivar has unusual pink-red or orange-red blooms. But it is normal that flower colour tends in all Astrophytums to increase a red blush ageing.

Subspecies, varieties, forms and cultivars of plants belonging to the Astrophytum asterias group


Astrophytum asterias cv. Rote Bluete (Astrophytum asterias cv. Akabana) Photo by: Cactus Art
Astrophytum asterias cv. Rote Bluete (Astrophytum asterias cv. Akabana) Photo by: Prof. Ilham Alakbarov
Astrophytum asterias cv. Rote Bluete (Astrophytum asterias cv. Akabana) Photo by: Cactus Art
Astrophytum asterias cv. Rote Bluete (Astrophytum asterias cv. Akabana) Photo by: Alexander Arzberger

Cultivation and Propagation: It is not too difficult in a greenhouse, although grows quite slowly. The plants need a loose well-drained mineral soil. They need a good amount of light. Watering can be done weekly during summertime, if the weather is sunny enough, with a little fertilizer added. Kept this way, plants will show a healthy, although slow growth. They are frost hardy to -4° (-10°) C
Propagation: By seeds, remembering that seedlings dislike strong light and dry conditions and need to be repotted frequently. But plants are often grafted to accelerate growth as they would generally take at least a five years to reach maturity on their own.


Astrophytum asterias 'Shinshowa Red' - garden

Origin and Habitat: Garden origin (Nursery-produced cultivar)

Description: This cultivar only varies from the typical well-known A. asterias for the star shaped stem instead of rounded .
Stem: Non-branched, flat, dark green. Diameter 8-16 cm star shaped. Height 2 to 6 cm. Just flat to the ground surface.
Ribs: The main particularity of this cultivar are the tip of the rib that are more or less deeply seated within the plants body, while the suture line between the ribs is turned outward. This unusual feature give this plant it unique starry-looking.
Ribs: Generally it has eight flat ribs, rare few or more.
Spines: Not any.
Hairy scales: Usually loose, sprinkled over the stem in irregular patterns, sometimes arched around the areoles or on line.
Areoles: Round, cream-colored till white hairy up to 6 (3-12) mm) of diameters. The areoles are normally set in a separation up to 10 mm, but can be very close one to each other at cultivated plants.
Flowers: At the apex from the vegetation point, up to 75 mm in diameter. Yellow with red throat.

Subspecies, varieties, forms and cultivars of plants belonging to the Astrophytum asterias group


Astrophytum asterias star shape type. Photo by: Valentino Vallicelli
Astrophytum asterias cv. Star Type Photo by: Cactus Art
Astrophytum asterias cv. Star Type Photo by: Cactus Art
Astrophytum asterias cv. Star Type Photo by: Cactus Art
Astrophytum asterias cv. Star Type Photo by: Cactus Art
Astrophytum asterias cv. Star Type Photo by: Valentino Vallicelli
Astrophytum asterias cv. Star Type Photo by: Valentino Vallicelli

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Cultivation and Propagation: is not too difficult in a greenhouse, although the plant grows quite slowly. The plant needs a loose, well-drained mineral soil, and a good amount of light. Watering can be done weekly during the summertime, if the weather is sunny enough, with a little fertilizer added. Kept this way, plants will show a healthy, although slow growth. They are frost hardy to -4° (-10°) C.
Propagation: By seeds, but sometime graftred to speed growth.


Astrophytum asterias 'Shinshowa Red' - garden

Origin and Habitat: It was once found throughout Texas and Mexico in an area of occupancy of less than 2,000 km² at the Mexico-USA border to the east of the Sierra Madre Oriental mountain in the states of Tamaulipas (Gonzales, El Hundido, Estancion Calles, Fortin Agrero, Llera, Ejido 21. Marzo, Rancho San Antonio, South of San Carlos and south of Cd. Victoria), Nuevo Leon (Lucio Blanco) and the lower Rio Grande Valley, of Texas in the United States (Starr and Hidalgo County).
Altitude: 50-200 metres above sea-level.
Habitat: It grow on hills, hollows and along the sides of dry river beds, on gravelly alluvial loams and saline or calcareous clays in thorn shrub vegetation and grasslands in warm-temperate, subtropical steppe climate (semi-desert). Astrophytum asterias is mainly found in the shade of other plants or rock in the grass up to the edge of the bushes almost completely buried underground, often covered by sand. It is very cryptic. Its colours matches that of the surrounding soil and is difficult to spot if not in flower. Associates succulents include Opuntia leptocaulis, Mammillaria heyderi, Thelocactus schwarzii, Echinocereus reichenbachii var. fitchii, Homalocephala texensis, Pilosocereus palmeri, Coryphantha macromeris var. runyonii and Stenocereus pruinosus. Precipitation less than 500 mm per annum. Much of its original habitat has been destroyed by habitat destruction, agricultur, collecting and foraging by cottontail-rabbits in Texas and in Tamaulipas. Once fairly widely distributed in south Texas, the species is now known from only one locality near Rio Grande City. Several localities are known in Mexico, both north and south of Ciudad Victoria. The species may also have occurred in the State of Nuevo León and is hence Regionally Extinct there. The total population numbers more than 5,000 plants from known localities in both countries.

Description: Astrophytum asterias (a.k.a. Sea-Urchin Cactus or Sand Dollar) is an extremely flat barrel cactus with unique and remarkably beautiful form and no typical covering of spines, but with tiny speckled tuft of hairs less than pinhead-sized. It produces large yellow flowers with orange throats often larger than the plant itself. The common name comes from resemblance to sea urchin without spines.
Habit: It is a solitary (unless damaged) perennial stem succulent growing deep seated just flat to the ground surface. Only in cultivation plants may have a spherical till columnar shape.
Roots: The underground body is fleshy, turnip-like, with fine diffuse roots.
Stem: Non-branched, much depressed, disc-shaped to low dome-shaped, grey-green to dull green (unless stressed), mature plants 2-7 cm tall, 5-16 cm broad, dotted with numerous minuscule tufts of bright white wool (hairy scales). These hairy scales are usually loose, sprinkled over the stem in irregular patterns, sometimes arched around the areoles or on line. Cultivated plants possess sometimes very dense and big hairy scales. The short white wool on surface, said to substitute for lack of shade from spines. There are also completely flake free pure green specimens.
Ribs: The stem is typically divided by very narrow but distinct vertical grooves into 8 broad ribs. The ribs are very low, almost flat on top, forming triangular sections with no cross-grooves. The normal rib number eight is very stable in wild specimens, independent of the age of the plant, but in cultivation selected cultivars and hybrids can have from 4 to 13 ribs.
Areoles: Round, prominent, 3-12 mm in diameters, forming a line up to the centre of each rib, felted to hairy, white, creamy, dirty-yellow till straw-coloured, then grey. Normally 3 to 10 mm apart, but sometime very close one to each other in cultivated plants.
Spines: Not any. Only seedlings show some rudimentary spines within the first weeks and months.
Flowers: Apical, diurnal, radial, 3-5 cm long, 5-7(-9) cm in diameter opening widely, yellow with orange/red throats. Ovary and tube very short, densely covered with thin, bristle-like, black tipped scales and with cobwebby wool in axils. Outer tepals short, narrow, pointed, greenish, covered with short fuzz on outer surfaces inner tepals long, slightly spatulate, from narrow orange-red bases upper parts clear yellow, edges entire, tips entire and slightly pointed to erose and irregular. Filaments orange at bases, yellow above, anthers and pollen yellow. Style yellowish with 10-12 yellowish-green stigma lobes.
Blooming season: In habitat the flowering period is spring and each flower lasts for one or two days only, but the plant may flower at any time during the warmer months of the year if adequate water is provided.
Fruits: Oval to round, about 1,5-2 cm long, green, pinkish or greyish-red densely covered with spines and dull-white wool, becoming dry and finally breaking off at or near base (not opening above the base).
Seeds: Black or dark brown, glossy, bowl to helmet shaped about 2 mm long, 3 mm broad.
Similar species: Astrophytum asterias is sometimes confused with peyote (Lophophora williamsii). Both species are spine-less, and peyote often has 8 ribs. However, peyote is bluish-green but has irregularly shaped ribs and lacks the tiny whitish scales.
Remarks: The stem is said to be suffused with chemical compounds distasteful to herbivores.

Subspecies, varieties, forms and cultivars of plants belonging to the Astrophytum asterias group

Notes: The name "Peyote" used by the natives comes presumably by the external similarity to Lophophora williamsii, however there is no closer botanic relationship. Till now, there is no found of hallucinogenic in the plants despite multiple contrary assertions.

Bibliography: Major references and further lectures
1) Edward Anderson “The Cactus family” Timber Press, Incorporated, 2001
2) Tony Sato "Astrophytum Handbook VOL.1 ASTERIAS FAMILY" Japan Cactus Planning Co Press 1973
3) 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
4) David R Hunt Nigel P Taylor Graham Charles International Cactaceae Systematics Group. "The New Cactus Lexicon" dh books, 2006
5) N. L. Britton, J. N. Rose: “The Cactaceae. Descriptions and Illustrations of Plants of the Cactus Family.” Volume III, The Carnegie Institution of Washington, Washington 1922
6) Brian Loflin, Shirley Loflin “Texas Cacti: A Field Guide” Texas A&M University Press, 26/Oct/2009
7) Albert Michael Powell, James F. Weedin “Cacti of the Trans-Pecos and Adjacent Areas” Texas Tech University Press, 2004
8) Del Weniger “Cacti of Texas and Neighboring States: A Field Guide” University of Texas Press, 1984
9) Alfred Richardson “Plants of Deep South Texas: A Field Guide to the Woody and Flowering Species” Texas A&M University Press, 2010
10) Jackie M. Poole, William R. Carr, Dana M. Price “Rare Plants of Texas: A Field Guide” Texas A&M University Press, 2007


Astrophytum asterias Photo by: Cactus Art
Astrophytum asterias Photo by: Cactus Art
Astrophytum asterias Photo by: Valentino Vallicelli

Astrophytum asterias 'Shinshowa Red' - garden

Origin and Habitat: Japan, Garden origin (Nursery produced cultivar)

Description: “Rensei” means ”Chain of areoles”. The areoles on the ribs are very close and forms an unbroken line, a chain of areoles.

Subspecies, varieties, forms and cultivars of plants belonging to the Astrophytum asterias group

Bibliography: Major reference and further lectures
1) Hadley Nation "Super Kabuto and Rare Astrophytum: Limited Edition Collector's Guide" Little Quin Publishing, 2007
2) http://www.astrobase.de/Asterias/Artikel/esuperkap.html
3) Sato, T., "J.C.P Color Hand Book Series No. 2, Volume 1, Hand Book Asterias Family" page 1-65, Japan Cactus Planning Co. Press. 03/25/1973
4) Benadom, D., "Cacti & Succulents for the Amateur" in: Cact. Succ. Journ. (US), volume: 70 No. (6), page 314-315, 1998
5) Kleszewski, K. P., "Verein der Kakteenfreunde Mainz/Wiesb. u. Umgebung, OG, Astrophytum asterias (ZUCC.) LEM. Am Standort in Mexiko. und in Kultur" in: Kaktusblüte, volume: No., page 25-28, 1998
6) Kibayashi, A., "Cacti and succulents in Japan, part 1" in: Cact. Succ. Journ. (US), volume: 65 No. (3), page 126-127, 1993
7) Kobayashi, A., "Cacti and succulents in Japan, part 3" in: Cact. Succ. Journ. (US), volume: 68 No. (5), page 245-249, 1996
8) Sato, T., "Astrophytum asterias varieties" In : A Quarterly Cactus & Succulent Journal of Japan, volume: 1 No. (1), page 22-34, 1978
9) Sato, T., "Astrophytum asterias" in: Cactus & Succulent Journal of Japan, volume: 9 No. 7, page 10-14, 1995
10 ) Sato, T., "Astrophytum asterias" in: Cactus & Succulent Journal of Japan, No. 3, page 10-14, Japan Cactus Planning Co. Press, 1995
11) Sato, T., "Contest of Cactus & Succulent plant in Kyoto 1998" in: Cactus & Succulent Journal of Japan, No. 11, page 2-7, Japan Cactus Planning Co. Press, 1998
12) Sato, T., "Contest of Cactus & Succulent plant in Saitama 1998" in: Cactus & Succulent Journal of Japan, No. 12, page 2-4, Japan Cactus Planning Co. Press, 1998
13) Sato, T., Cactus & Succulent Journal of Japan, No. 6, page 2, 7, Japan Cactus Planning Co. Press, (unknown) 1999
14) Sato, T., Cactus & Succulent Journal of Japan, No. 7, page 9, 10, 15, Japan Cactus Planning Co. Press, (unknown) 1999
15) Sato, T., 1999 "The report of the grand meeting to celbrate the 20th anniversary of 'KYOSENKAI'" in Cactus & Succulent Journal of Japan, No. 9, page 2-11, Japan Cactus Planning Co. Press,
16) Anderson, M., "Grafting succulents" in: Cact. Succ. Journ. (US), volume: 69 No. (1), page 17-25, 1997


Astrophytum asterias cv. Rensei Photo by: Valentino Vallicelli
Astrophytum asterias cv. Rensei Photo by: Valentino Vallicelli

Cultivation and Propagation: Astrophytum asterias is a summer grower plant relatively easy to grow. It is sometime seen as a grafted plant but grows well on its own roots too. It is not too difficult in a greenhouse, although grows slowly.
Soil: Use mineral well permeable substratum with little organic matter (peat, humus), plants may become too elongated if compost is too rich.
Repotting: It needs to be repotted frequently. Eventually, as it becomes mature, it attain a maximum size of 8-10 cm (20) cm. However, old plants become senile and have a tendency to succumb to disease and a weak root system. At this stage, as is well known, they die suddenly. So, after they reach 10 cm in diameter grow them slowly, and adopt a new repotting period, using intervals of every 2 - 3 years. Use pot with good drainage.
Fertilization: It grows much faster with a low nitrogen content fertilizer in spring and summer. Potassium helps maintaining the plants compact and healthy.
Watering: Requires careful watering to keep plant compact. Water sparingly from March till October, the thin, fibrous roots suffer if there is humidity, therefore the plant should be watered only when the surrounding terrain is dry. Keep dry as soon as the temperature starts dropping in October and keep it perfectly dry in winter at temperatures from 5 to 15 degrees centigrade.
Hardiness: They need to be kept in a cool place during winter rest and are somewhat resistant to frost if kept on the dry side prior to, and during, cold weather (due to the altitude they are hardy to -5 C ° C, or less for short periods). It tends to rot in winter during the resting phase, if kept wet. In the rest period no high atmospheric humidity!!
Sun Exposure: It needs a good amount of light. Light shade to full sun, its colour tends to richer and darker when grown in light shade.
Uses: It is an excellent plant for container growing. It always looks good and stays small.
Pests & diseases: It may be attractive to a variety of insects, but plants in good condition should be nearly pest-free, particularly if they are grown in a mineral potting-mix, with good exposure and ventilation. Nonetheless, there are several pests to watch for:
- Red spiders: Red spiders may be effectively rubbed up by watering the infested plants from above.
- Mealy bugs: Mealy bugs occasionally develop aerial into the new growth among the wool with disfiguring results, but the worst types develop underground on the roots and are invisible except by their effects.
- Scales: Scales are rarely a problem.
- Rot: Rot is only a minor problem with cacti if the plants are watered and “aired” correctly. If they are not, fungicides won't help all that much. To prevent rottenness it is also advisable to surround its root neck by very rough sand or grit, this help a fast water drainage.
Propagation: By seeds, remembering that seedlings dislike strong light and dry conditions and need to be repotted frequently. But plants are often grafted to accelerate growth as they would generally take at least a five years to reach maturity on their own, but the grafted plants are typical rather tall growing, compared with plants on their own roots that are usually more flat to the ground.


Watch the video: How to Pollinate Astrophytum