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Accepted Scientific Name: Gymnocalycium anisitsii (K.Schum.) Britton & Rose
Cactaceae (Britton & Rose) 3: 159, fig. 168. 1922 Britton & Rose
Origin and Habitat: Gymnocalycium damsiiSN|13319]]SN|13319]] var. centrispinum is reported from Bolivia (Western South America), in the vicinity of Roboré.
Habitat and ecology: This species occurs in relatively dense forest areas.
Gymnocalycium anisitsii (K.Schum.) Britton & Rose
Cactaceae (Britton & Rose) 3: 159, fig. 168. 1922
- Gymnocalycium anisitsii (K.Schum.) Britton & Rose
- Echinocactus anisitsii K.Schum.
- Gymnocalycium anisitsii subs. damsii (K.Schum.) G.J.Charles
- Gymnocalycium anisitsii subs. damsii f. cristatum hort.
- Gymnocalycium anisitsii subs. damsii f. monstruosum hort.
- Gymnocalycium anisitsii subs. damsii f. variegata hort.
- Gymnocalycium anisitsii var. griseopallidum H.Till & Amerh.
- Gymnocalycium griseo-pallidum Backeb.
- Gymnocalycium anisitsii var. tucavocense Backeb. ex H.Till & Amerh.
- Gymnocalycium damsii var. boosii Amerh.
- Gymnocalycium damsii var. centrispinum Backeb.
- Gymnocalycium damsii subs. evae Halda, Horáček & Milt
- Gymnocalycium damsii var. rotundulum Backeb.
- Gymnocalycium joossensianum Britton & Rose
Gymnocalycium anisitsii subs. holdii Amerh.
Gymnocalycium 16(3): 531 (-532; Abb. 23-37). 2003 [Aug 2003]
Accepted name in llifle Database:
Gymnocalycium anisitsii subs. multiproliferum (P.J.Braun) P.J.Braun & Esteves
Succulenta (Netherlands) 74(3): 131 (1995)
- Gymnocalycium anisitsii subs. multiproliferum (P.J.Braun) P.J.Braun & Esteves
Gymnocalycium anisitsii subs. volkeri Amerh.
Gymnocalycium 17(1): 559 (-560; abb. 35-38). 2004 [Feb 2004]
- Gymnocalycium anisitsii var. tucavocense cv. Red Form
Description: Gymnocalycium damsiiSN|13319]]SN|13319]] var. centrispinum was first named in 1963 by Backeberg in reference to the long central spine that distinguish this variety. Backeberg named four varieties of Gymnocalycium damsiiSN|13319]]SN|13319]] (vars. centrispinum, rotundulum, torulosum and tucavocense). All these varieties were invalidly described, but today they are no more accepted because they only represents extreme of variation within the same polymorphic population. For example plants of var. centrispinum from seed often lack central spines whereas some plants of torulosum have them! Also in the var. tucavocense there are plants with and without central spines. This also applies to var. rotundulum, which is distinguished by it round body shape without pronounced ribs, but again plants with round bodies and more or less round ribs are intermingled with plants with acute ribs and are found within populations of the other varieties.
Stem: In culture the colour of the epidermis varies from copper to dark green (depending on sun exposure).
Flowers: Entirely white. A peculiar characteristic of var. centrispinum seems to be the long stylus protruding above the stamens, in all other G. damsii taxa the stylus is shorter and included within the anthers of the upper stamens.
Radial spines: 7.
Central spine: One, needle-like yellowish-brown to brown, about 2 cm long, occasionally up tu 7 cm long in age.
Subspecies, varieties, forms and cultivars of plants belonging to the Gymnocalycium anisitsii group
Gymnocalycium anisitsii is a very polymorphic species with a large range of variability. Two subspecies are recognized, the nominate form and subsp. multiproliferum. There seems to be very little justification for vars. centrispinum, rotundulum, torulosum and tucavocense. Gymnocalycium griseopallidum from the salt-pan desert area on the Bolivia-Paraguay borders may well be another variety or local form which has become adapted to the peculiar local conditions of that region.
- Gymnocalycium anisitsii (K.Schum.) Britton & Rose: may be solitary or freely offsetting with white flowers. Spines 5 to 7, tortuous, up to 6 cm. long. It is a very polymorphic species with a large range of variability. Distribution: Bolivia, Paraguay.
- Gymnocalycium anisitsii subs. damsii (K.Schum.) G.J.Charles: has stems to 10 cm tall, 8-15 cm in diameter, green to brownish-green, often with horizontal strips. Ribs broad to acute, and more or less notched. Distribution: Bolivia, Paraguay and Brazil.
- Gymnocalycium anisitsii subs. damsii f. cristatum hort.: crested form. Various clones. Garden origin.
- Gymnocalycium anisitsii subs. damsii f. monstruosum hort.: monstrous form. Various clones. Garden origin.
- Gymnocalycium anisitsii subs. damsii f. variegata hort.: variegated form. Various clones. Garden origin.
- Gymnocalycium anisitsii var. griseopallidum H.Till & Amerh.: has paler greyish-green, sharply ribbed stem and greenish-white flowers. Distribution: Santa Cruz (Salinas de San Jose, Cordillera ) Bolivia.
- Gymnocalycium anisitsii subs. holdii Amerh.
- Gymnocalycium anisitsii subs. multiproliferum (P.J.Braun) P.J.Braun & Esteves: has numerous violet-green stems, longer spines, and rose-colored flowers. Distribution Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil.
- Gymnocalycium anisitsii var. tucavocense Backeb. ex H.Till & Amerh.: has beautiful deep mauve to violet flowers, is remarkably prolific in branching and very precocious flowering.
- Gymnocalycium anisitsii var. tucavocense cv. Red Form: it is a garden selection characterized by an unusual bright red colouring of the body, this colour is due to a reduced production of chlorophyll pigments.
- Gymnocalycium anisitsii subs. volkeri Amerh.
- Gymnocalycium damsii var. boosii Amerh.: has longer, thin, flexible usually twisted spines up to 6 cm long. Flowers bright pink or carmine-red. Distribution: S-E of Chocis, Santa Cruz, Bolivia.
- Gymnocalycium damsii var. centrispinum Backeb.: has 7 radial spines and one long needle-like central spine to 2 cm long. The flowers are white. Distribution: Bolivia, in the vicinity of Roboré.
- Gymnocalycium damsii subs. evae Halda, Horáček & Milt
- Gymnocalycium damsii var. rotundulum Backeb.: it is characterized by rounder and scarcely raised tubercles. Distribution: Bolivia, Brazil & Paraguay.
- Gymnocalycium damsii var. torulosum Backeb.
- Gymnocalycium damsii cv. Purple Blush: has purple blushed stems and nice pink blooms. It seems related to Gymnocalycium damsii var. tucavocense to which it shares many characteristics.
Bibliography: Major references and further lectures
1) E. W Putnam “Gymnocalyciums: Handbook No. 5.” National Cactus And Succulent Society, Smart & Co. (Printers) Ltd., Brackley, Northants. 1978
2) Von G. Frank “Gymnocalycium damsii-Formen aus Ostbolivien” KAKTEEN und andere
3) Sukkulenten 17(8): 155-158, August 1966
4) Volker Schädlich “From Santa Cruz to Puerto Suarez eastward a trip to the Bolivian lowlands until the Brazilian border” 23 - XEROPHILIA • Volume IV, No. 4 (15), December 2015
5) Pilbeam “Gymnocalycium - A collector's guide”. 1995
Gymnocalycium damsii var. centrispinum Photo by: Alexander Arzberger
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Cultivation and Propagation: Gymnocalycium damsiiSN|13319]]SN|13319]] var. centrispinum is a summer grower species that is easy to cultivate.
Growth rate: It is a relatively rapidly growing and easily flowering species that will make clumps given the best conditions.
Soils: It likes very porous standard cactus mix soil. Prefer a low pH compost, avoid substrata rich in limestone; otherwise growth will stop altogether.
Repotting: This plant needs plenty of space for its roots, repotting should be done every other year or when the it has outgrown its pot. Use pot with good drainage.
Watering: Needs moderate to copious waterings in summer, but do not overwater (Rot prone), keep dry in winter at a minimum temperature of 0°C.
Fertilization: Feed with a high potassium fertilizer in summer.
Hardiness: Reputedly resistant to frost if kept on the dry side prior to, and during, cold weather (hardy to -5 C ° C, or less for short periods).
Exposition: The plant tolerates extremely bright situations but enjoys filtered sunlight or afternoon shade, inside it needs bright light, and some direct sun. Tends to bronze in strong light, which encourages flowering and heavy spine production, but is likely to suffer from sun scorch or stunted growth if over exposed to direct sunlight during the hottest part of the day in summer.
Uses: It is an excellent plant for container growing. It always looks good and stays small. It look fine in a cold greenhouse and frame or outdoor in a rockery.
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 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: This species is particularly easy and accommodating, seldom suffer of cryptogamic diseases. Rot it is only a minor problem with gymnocalyciums if the plants are watered and “aired” correctly. If they are not, fungicides won't help all that much.
Propagation: Division, direct sow after last frost. Seeds germinate in 7-14 days at 21-27° C in spring, remove gradually the glass cover as soon the plants will be well rooted (ca 1-2 weeks) and keep ventilated, no full sun for young plants! To make a cutting twist off a branch and permit it to dry out a couple of weeks, lay it on the soil and insert the stem end partially into the soil. Try to keep the cutting somewhat upright so that the roots are able to grow downward.
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