Eriosyce ceratistes ( = aurata )
The spines are strong horn-shaped, glassy and usually black
or brownish and pleasantly contrasting with the emerald-blue epidermis.
is a large barrel-shaped cactus with many ribs and very spiny. Most of
the plants in habitat are single headed unless they are damaged.
Stem: Solitary, emerald-blue, spherical fattened with abundant white
wool on top, up to 50 cm in diameter (usually 20 to 30 cm) when very old
become shortly columnar, reaching over 90 cm in height (but usually
Ribs: Adult specimens have around 21-35 ribs, but fewer in young
plant, while in old ones sometime more.
Areoles: Large, approx 3 cm apart.
Spines: 11-20 nearly equal 2,5-3,5 cm long, horn-shaped, subulated,
straight or slightly curved. The colour is brown to almost black (often
pale-brownish or yellowish when very young). Juvenile specimens have 1
central spine and 8 radial, but the number increase as they get older
and areoles can have over 20 spines on mature specimens.
campanulate or funnel-shaped 5 cm long, with a white hairy floral
tube. Inner perianth-segments 1,5 cm long. The flower open for 3-4 hours
and then whitening. There might be over 50 flowers on a mature specimen
(only mature specimens bloom).
Fruits: 4 cm long.
Seeds: 3 m long.
Eriosyce ceratistes Monte Patria.
A form with very blue stems.
Eriosyce ceratistes Huatalame 1000 m.
A form with strong black spines
Cultivation: Slow growing, extremely
rot prone if kept in a non
ventilated place. Requires a very fast-draining drying soil.
Water regularly in summer, but do not overwater.
full sun exposure (or
light shade) Good heat tolerance.
Hardy to at least -5°C.
Usually propagated from Seeds.
(seldom produces offsets), but as this species is
very sensitive to root rot the young seedlings are frequently grafted on
a strong stock.
Photo of conspecific taxa, varieties, forms and cultivars
of plants belonging
to the Eriosyce aurata
Taxon has several of
synonyms whit various controversial varieties and subspecies):
Eriosyce ceratistes Britton &
Nowadays regarded as:
Eriosyce aurata (Pfeiff.) Backeb. 1936
Origin: Chile (Coquimbo), at
medium elevations in the Andes.
Habitat: They grow only
in the mountain at an altitude of 100-2000 meters or more.
Conservation status: Listed in
CITES appendix 2.
- Echinocactus auratus Pfeiff.
In: Abbild. Beschr. Cact. 2:under pl. 14 1847
- Echinopsis aurata Salm-dick
In: Cact. Hort. Dyck. 1849. 39 1850.
- Echinocactus sandillon Remy
In Gay, Fl. Chilena 3:14. 1847 (1848)
- Eriosyce sandillon (Gay) Phil.
In: Anal. Univ. Chile 41:721. 1872
- Echinocactus ceratistes Otto
In Pfeiffer, Enum. Cact. 51. 1837.
- Eriosyce ausseliana F. Ritter
(Nom inval.) 1980
- Eriosyce algarrobensis F. Ritter
- Eriosyce ihotzkyanae F. Ritter
- Eriosyce lapampaensis F. Ritter