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Ancistrocactus megarhizus
(Syn: Ancistrocactus scheeri)

CACTUSPEDIA       

 


Ancistrocactus megarhizus SB597 Llera, Tamaulipas, Mexico
The peculiar characteristic of this species species are the long, fleshy, tuber-like taproots.
The natural hooked spine, was used by Indians to catch tiny fish.
 

Description: Solitary cactus (unless injured) until very old age, or with few branches from ground level when old.  This specie has a tuber-like taproot but it is not a geophyte as the apical meristem is above ground.
Stem: Cylindric to club-shaped, or spherical, up to 17cm tall, 5-8 cm in diameter. Seedlings and immature plants often have narrowly cylindrical stems. With age, the stems broaden distally.
Spines: Radial spines 13-28 per areole, translucent yellowish, tips red-brown, longest spines 6 to 28 mm long; central spines 3-4 per areole; abaxial central spine tan to whitish 1 per areole, hooked terete or slightly flattened, generally whitish or light brown, 12-38 mm long; adaxial central spines (2-)3 per areole, brown to dark reddish brown, erect, straight, 19-50 mm long. Juvenile spines are all radials numerous, short, tightly appressed and pectinately.
Roots: Long, fleshy, tuber-like taproots with bulbous swellings, sometimes having bulbous secondary roots, frequently horizontally oriented.
Flowers: Bright green to yellowish (rarely pink to pale reddish) with a brown midline. Flowering in February-March.

Note: A. scheeri is relatively similar above ground to the related species A. brevihamatus,  but the roots of A. scheeri are frequently horizontally oriented, strongly tuberlike and  always separated from the stem by a fragile constriction, in contrast to the short, succulent, vertical taproots of A. brevihamatus; and also the stems of immature A. brevihamatus, are not obscured by spines and are often flush with the soil surface, whereas those of A. scheeri are nearly hidden by spines and fully exposed above the soil.
Ribs on the stems of A. scheeri seem straighter and better defined than ribs of A. brevihamatus, even prior to sexual maturity.
 

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Family: Cactaceae (Cactus Family)

Scientific Name: Ancistrocactus megarhizus (Rose) Britton & Rose
In: Cactaceae 4: 4, 1923

Origin: USA (Texas); Mexico (Nuevo León, Tamaulipas).

Habitat: Grows under drip line of brush in Tamaulipan thorn scrub community, on plains and low hills, sandy, loamy, silty, or gravelly soils; 20-500 m;

Synonyms:

  • Ancistrocactus scheeri (Rose) Britton & Rose 1923
    Published in: The Cactaceae; descriptions and illustrations of plants of the cactus family  4: 4, f. 1, 1923
  • Echinocactus scheeri  Salm-Dyck
    Published in: Cact. Hort. Dyck. 1849, 155. 1849
    Pediocactus scheeri
      (Salm-Dyck) Halda 1998
  • Sclerocactus scheeri (Salm-Dyck) N.P. Taylor 1987
  • Ferocactus scheeri  (Salm-Dyck) N.P.Taylor 1979
  • Echinocactus megarhizus J. Rose

 

Common Names include:

  • Fishhook Cactus,
  • Twisted Ribs Cactus

Conservation status:   Listed in CITES appendix 2.


 

 


Cultivation:
Need a relatively  large or deep pot to accommodate their extensive roots. They will do their best with lots of sun and become stressed with inadequate light which could result in poor growth, unnatural shapeweak spines, poor health or even death. It does well with cool winter time temperatures and will tolerate temperatures down below -12°C or less if the roots are kept dry. Needs well drained soil. It flowers easily, but results will depend on a variety of growing conditions.
Propagation:
Relatively easy to propagate by seeds.

 

Photo of conspecific taxa, varieties, forms and cultivars of plants belonging to the ancistrocactus sheerii complex:

 

Photo gallery: Alphabetical listi of Cacti and Succulent pictures published in this site.

Photo gallery ANCISTROCACTUS



 

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