The spines are among the stiffer and sharper of all cacti
and can penetrate deeply into your skin at the minimal touch. It is
incredibly dangerous, a real knifepoint.
Flowers are dirty yellow-orange 5-6 cm in diameter with a lot of
filaments and a very big stigma.
Scientific name: Maihueniopsis
darwinii (Henslow) F.Ritter 1980
(Province of Buenos Aires, Río Negro and Chubut) and Chile (Only in the
locality of Bahía Jara, Chile Chico, Region XI de Aysén)
Habitat: Grow most of the time in
full sun but sometimes also with a little shelter of some bushes,
During the winter the plants are 1-2 m covered
with snow. In the spring when the snow starts melting the substrate
becomes wet although the (night) temperatures can be quite low at this
Conservation status: Listed in
CITES appendix 2.
- Opuntia darwinii Hensl.
- Tephrocactus darwinii (Henslow)
- Opuntia platyacantha
- Tephrocactus platyacanthus
(Pfeiff.) Lem. 1868
- Opuntia hickenii Britton
& Rose 1919
- Tephrocactus hickenii
(Britton & Rose) Speg. 1926
- Opuntia neuquensis Borg
- Tephrocactus neuquensis
(Borg) Backeb. 1953
- Maihueniopsis neuquensis
(Borg) F.Ritter 1980
- Maihueniopsis albomarginata
Mat forming up to 10 cm in diameter and height.
The stems may be very
tight or lose depending on clones.
Root: Enlarged tuberose.
Stem: Cladodes olive-green ovoidal, not tuberculate up to 3 cm in
Areoles: Approx 4mm in diameter, circular with
Spines: Stiff and very sharp, present in the upper areoles but
absent in the basal areoles of the cladode. Spines have a emphasized
central rib with flat margins (winged)
Leaves: The leaves on Maihueniopsis's are very small and fall off early.
Flowers: Dirty yellow-orange 5-6 cm in diameter. With a lot of
filaments and a very big stigma with about 10 obtuse lobes. Typically in
this species the pericarpel is green an fleshy with areoles in all the
surface but the length of the spines increases from below upwards.
Fruit: Fleshy 4 x 2,5 cm similar to the joints for shape and colour. At
maturity became yellow- orangish.
overwatering, but need enough water during the
mountain cactus -
because of the
and a well
mineral potting mix. It prefers a full
sun exposure, but should be protected from excessive heat and
sun in summer.
Frost Tolerance: They tolerate light frost
Need to be kept in a cool place during
winter rest this is important for the flowers as well as for
their health. Without this cool winter period they normally wont get
Keep dry in winter to avoid rot.
Need a sufficient
amount of air.
Seeds are extremely difficult to
Best reproduced from rooted
cuttings. Grafting is sometime used because it is quite root
prone on its own roots and to
create a back-up for plants in collection.