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Aztekium
A. ritteri
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Caryophyllales
Family: Cactaceae
Subfamily: Cactoideae
Tribe: Cacteae
Genus: Aztekium
Boed.
Species

The genus Aztekium contains only two species of small globular cactus. Discovered in 1929 by F. Ritter, in Rayones, Nuevo León, Mexico, this genus was thought to be monotypic (with Aztekium ritteri) until a second species (Aztekium hintonii) was discovered by George S. Hinton, in Galeana, Nuevo León in 1991.

Contents

Distribution

This genus is found only in Mexico and is native to the state of Nuevo León. It was estimated that there were in the order of tens of millions of plants of A. hintonii, and at present most of its range is pristine. Though A. ritteri has been collected for decades and there has been destruction of its habitat, the number of plants in habitat is several million.

Etymology

Its name is dedicated to the Aztec people, due to the resemblance between the plant's shape and certain Aztec sculptures.

Description

Aztekium ritteri is a small plant (around 20 mm wide), with 9 to 11 ribs, which typically have transverse wrinkles. Its color varies from pale green to grayish-green. The center of the cactus contains a lot of white wool. Flowers are small (less than 10 mm wide), with white petals and pinkish sepals. The plants bear small pinkish berry-like fruits. A. hintonii is larger, to 10 cm in diameter, 10 to 18 grooved ribs, flowers magenta to 3 cm. It grows only on gypsum.

Cultivation

These species grow extremely slowly, taking around two years to attain 3 mm diameter. They are usually propagated by seeds.

Aztekium is being investigated for its psychoactive/medicinal properties and is rumored to have similar alkaloids and traditional uses to Lophophora williamsii.

Active constituents

External links

Sacred and Medicinal Cacti by MS Smith

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Wikispecies

Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From Wikispecies

Taxonavigation

Classification System: APG II (down to family level)

Main Page
Cladus: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Cladus: Angiospermae
Cladus: Eudicots
Cladus: core eudicots
Cladus: Unassigned core eudicots
Ordo: Caryophyllales
Familia: Cactaceae
Subfamilia: Cactoideae
Tribus: Cacteae
Genus: Aztekium
Species: A. hintoni - A. ritteri

Name

Aztekium

Vernacular names

Svenska: Aztek-Kaktussl√§ktet

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