Description: Solitary or
slowly clustering, with peculiar spine clusters characteristically bent
backward in a distinctive fashion.
Stem: Flattened-globose,10-15 (25)cm in diameter, 10cm tall pale green,
to olive green that
can tinge of orangish purple in full sun. The
epidermis has a velvety appearance. The apex is slightly depressed and
Ribs: 10 to 12 thick, large, divided into polygonal rounded
(not chinned) tubercles,
separated by arched furrows.
Areoles: Large long, oval 10x14 mm, with cream-yellowish wool, then blackish dismantling
Spines: Strong, very stiff, bent backward, initially blackish with a brown base then becoming
grey-pinkish to whitish brown with black point.
Radial spines: (5-)7-9 up to 25 mm long
Central spines: One (or two) of the same length.
Infundibuliform near the apex, diameter and height 45-50mm.
Pericarpell dull green very short. External
tepals spatulate, slightly bent outward , white with brownish green
midrib. Inner tepals intern narrower, spatulate and slightly
denticulate, white with carmine/pink purplish throat. Style carmine with
carmine pink 10-12 lobes. Pollen yellow.
Fruits: Globose of approximately 2 cm of diameter, becoming red
carmine with maturity. Pulp intense cherry-red.
Seeds: Microsemineum type, section pirisemineum, very small (0.6
testa reddish shining and smooth.
Remarks: It is a very variable species with a wide distribution and
several controversial varieties, forms and subspecies has been
described. Of them only two has been recognized:
subspecies, varieties and forms:
subsp. argentinense coming from Gonzales, Salta,
subsp. dorisie coming from Tarija, Bolivia.
G. pflanzii has
fairly heavy spines characteristically bent backward in a distinctive
Cultivation: Gymnocalycium are very gratifying plants, their culture
is easy and their flowering is abundant if we give them a well drained
relatively rich substrate (if possible not limestone)
Water regularly in summer (but do not overwater ) keep rather
dry in winter, need frequent repottings and a
very luminous exposure but avoid direct exposure to the sun rays. This
species is particularly easy and accommodating, seldom suffer of
cryptogamic diseases. Feed with a high potassium
fertilizer in summer.
Hardy as low as -5° C (or less)
if kept dry.
Propagation: Direct sow after
last frost or offsets. The grafting is useless
(excluded the cultivars deprived of chlorophyll), it does not bring