Photo and ©
copyright Giuseppe Pascotto (Italy)
slow growing but extraordinary
Description: A. hintonii is a solitary globular to
shortly columnar cactus (rarely clustering forming clumps of a few heads
globular and squat, (rarely short
columnar) reaching 20 cm by 10 cm in size, apex slightly woolly.
Ribs: 10-15 acute, 6-12 mm deep, very pronounced, axil sharp. The
deeply indented grooves between its ribs lack the secondary ribs of
A. ritteri, and though it shares the transverse grooves, they are
smaller and more symmetrically arranged.
Areoles: Small and very numerous along the edge of each ribs,
woolly in youth, up to 4 mm apart.
Spines: 3, curved up to 13 mm long, greyish-white short lived not
distinguishable as centrals and radials. Spines often are absent in
mature areoles, even in young areoles they are highly reduced and very
Flowers: Diurnal, magenta 1-3 cm in diameter borne at the stem
tip, flower tube basally woolly.
Blooming season: July – August when summer temperatures are at
Fruit: Round to elongated. Hidden within the woolly top, naked,
smooth, thin walled, drying at maturity, that loses the perianth
Seeds: Shiny brownish black, tuberculate ± 1m long and 0,5 mm in
diameter. Hilum obscured by a strophiole.a
A young plant grafted on a Trichocereus stock
Cultivation: It is of slow growth, but not as slow as
A. ritterii. It usually takes several years for growth
to be noticeable. Needs good drainage and regular water in summer.
It should be dried out completely for its winter rest when it will
withstand temperatures down to to -4°C for short periods. It prefers
Once a specimen is established on its own roots it is no trouble to
keep, and it becomes an easy plant to manage.
The plants are often grafted to enhance growth speed. They grow best in
or half shade, which will help to
maintain the lustre of the spines and plants compact. They are
mealy bug and
red spider mite.
Propagation: Almost exclusively by seeds.
seedlings are very slow growing and
at first they take one or two years to
reach the diameter of 2 mm!!! Once they have reached 4 years old
or more they are relatively easy to grow, the problem
is getting them to 4 years old! Than they reach 2 cm of diameter in
about 8 years, and require very careful watering. Plants need 12 or
more years to reach
the flowering size.
Sometime, older specimens may shoot
from under tubercles, so they can be propagated by cuttings in
spring (but rooting may prove a challenge). Plants are
sometimes grafted onto column-shaped cacti, which is a much easier
way of propagation than sowing.
Glass & Fitz Maurice 1991
Conservation status: Listed in
CITES appendix 2.
Origin: A. hintonii is a narrowly endemic
species restricted to a very small area in Galeana, Nuevo Leon, Mexico.
Habitat: It grows in a landscape of
sharply incised canyons where it clings in great numbers to almost
vertical walls, but A. hintonii grows more fully exposed
to the sun than A. ritteri, which tends to embed itself deeply
into its canyon walls. A. hintonii and Geohintonia
mexicana grows and coexist at some locations in the same general
habitat of small, steep canyons and gypsum outcrops.
Aztekium (Discovered in 1929 by F.
Ritter, in Rayones, Nuevo León, Mexico) contains only two
was thought to be
Aztekium ritteri) until a second
species (Aztekium hintonii) was discovered in 1990 by George S. Hinton,
in Galeana, Nuevo Leon… … The Aztekium
Clade (consisting of Aztekium and
Geohintonia) represents a
relictual, yet highly
sister group to the remaining
taxa of the
tribe Cacteae. It is
suggested that Geohintonia may represent an
involving Aztekium (probably A. hintonii which is
Geohintonia ) and possibly Echinocactus horizonthalonius.
An young specimen 7-8 years old (Ř 2,5cm)
by Süleyman Demir Turkey
Photo of conspecific taxa, varieties,
forms and cultivars of Aztekium hintonii.