Ariocarpus come from the Chihuahuan Desert in southern Texas and northern Mexico where they grow on calcareous rock. They are considered by many as the aristocrats of cacti and are very highly sought after. Ironically, because of their slow growth and often fossil like appearance, they are equally strongly disliked by those who have not fallen for their charms and who consider them boring!

Several former genera (most notably Neogomesia, Roseocactus) are included in Ariocarpus, all are extremely slow growing unless grafted. The plants pictured are quite small, large plants are seen in collections but are rarely offered for sale. The picture was of an entry in one of the classes at the BCSS Zone One Show at Gateshead Garden Festival in 1990 and includes most of the species of the genus (the labels indicate the plants were between 7 and 9 years old).

Photograph by : John Ellis

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