Living Rocks of Mexico
Ariocarpus agavoides
  home [ Cultivars ] [ Species ]  




Original Publication

Neogomesia agavoides Castaneda, (1941) Cact. Succ. Jour. 13: 98

Transferred to Ariocarpus by Anderson in 1962.

Ariocarpus agavoides (Castenada) Anderson, (1962) Amer. J. Bot. 49: 615


Plant greenish-brown, rising barely above ground level, sub-globose, flattened on top, 2-6cm high, 4-8cm in diam.; tubercles divergent, often flaccid and not erect, not crowded or basally compressed, acute at the apices, flattened adaxially, not fissured, not strongly incurved, 3-7cm long, 5-10mm broad, more than 4 times as long as wide; areoles 5-12mm from the tips of the tubercles, rounded, 2-5 mm in diam.; spines none or rarely 2, 2-4mm long, whitish; flowers 3.5-4.2cm in diam., 2-5cm long; outer perianth segments magenta with greenish-white margins,15-20mm long, 4-5.5mm broad, slightly mucronate, margins smooth; inner pen­anth parts deep magenta, 20-25mm long, 5-10mm broad; pistil exserted 2-3mm above the stamens; style white. 1-2cm long; stigmas 5-8, 1-2.5mm long; fruit pinkish-red to reddish­purple, globose to elongate, 10-20mm long, 5-12mm in diam.

Distribution (Map)


Restricted distribution on rocky limestone hills, and alluvial plains at about 1200 m around the town of Tula, Tamaulipas, The populations around the town have been threatened by many factors including illegal collecting, agriculture, building work, livestock, and erosion. The plant is also chewed as a sweet by local children. It says much for the resilience of the species that it can still be found at the type locality. The future of A. agavoides in the wild has been greatly enhanced by the discovery of  two new colonies in San Luis Potosi,  disjunct from the original site.

  Ariocarpus agavoides

Ariocarpus agavoides flowering in October.


Ariocarpus agavoides is one of the smallest species of the genus. Discovered in 1941, this species was named originally for Marte Gomez, a Governor of Tamaulipas. The plants are very difficult to find in habitat when not in flower, and the plant was for many years after its discovery virtually unknown in cultivation, it is now readily available as seed raised or grafted plants, and whilst usually solitary in the wild it will eventually cluster in the more luxurious conditions offered in cultivation.

Ariocarpus agavoides is one of the easiest species to flower in cultivation. In the UK it has been flowered at only 3 months old grafted on Pereskiopsis, and at 20 months on its own roots under artificial lighting. 

Field Numbers

A full listing of all associated Field Numbers can be found here

See Also

Anderson, E. F. 1963. A study of the proposed genus Neogomesia. Cactus and Succulent Journal of America 35(5):138-145.

Marcelino Castañeda (1873/4 to 1960) - a brief personal profile.

Fitz Maurice, W A , and B. Fitz Maurice. 1999. Fieldnotes - New Locations for Ariocarpus agavoides. Cact. Succ. J. (U S) 71 271-272.

Marshall, William T. 1947. Neogomesia Castaneda genus nova. The Cactus and Succulent Journal of Great Britain. Vol. 9(2):29.

Sotomayor M., Arredondo A. and Martinez M. 2000 Neue Fundorte von Ariocarpus agavoides. Kakt. und and. Sukk.51 (5), 113-118

Weightman W. 2002 A Half Hour Stroll to See Ariocarpus agavoides. B.C.S.S. Journal Vol 20 (2) 76-79

---------- end of page ----------