Living Rocks of Mexico
Ariocarpus fissuratus
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Original Publication

Mammillaria fissurata Engelmann, (1856) Proc. Amer. Acad. 3: 270.

Transferred to Ariocarpus by Schumann in 1894.

Ariocarpus fissuratus Schumann K. (1894) in Engler & Prantl, Nat. Pflanzenfam. 3, 6a:195.


Plant grey-green, becoming yellowish with age, even with or rising slightly above ground level, subglobose, flattened or sometimes rounded on top, 1-10cm high, 5-10 (occasionally up to 15)cm in diam.; tubercles laterally divergent, crowded, basally compressed, usually rounded at the apices, flattened or slightly convex adaxially, with numerous adaxial fissures, 10-20mm long, 15-25mm broad, usually slightly broader than long; areoles central longitudinal grooves on the adaxial surfaces of the tubercles, woolly, 3-4mm wide, 10-15mm long; flowers 2.5-4.5cm in diam., 1.5-3.5cm long; outer perianth parts light magenta, sometimes becoming whitish, 1.2-3 5cm long, 5-9mm broad; inner perianth parts light magenta, 1.3-3.4cm long, 4-10mm broad; pistil sometimes not exserted but often 1-3mm above the stamens; style 1.6-2.1cm long; stigmas 5-10. 1.2-5 mm long; fruit whitish or greenish, 5-15mm long, 2-6mm in diam.

Distribution (Map)


Ariocarpus fissuratus Ariocarpus fissuratus, a typical plant from West Texas

Ariocarpus fissuratus intermedius

Ariocarpus fissuratus 'intermedius' from Cuatrocienagas, Coahuila, 



 From the western side of the Big Bend Region, and eastwards along the Rio Grande to the confluence with the Pecos (type locality) and beyond almost to the Atlantic coast, also in parts of central northern Coahuila. A much larger growing, more hemispherical plant is found in southern Coahuila near Parras, westwards as far as Nazas in Durango and southwards into northern Zacatecas, this was described as A. lloydii. (Rose 1911) and later as A. fissuratus var. lloydii.. A form intermediate between the two, is found between Cuatrocienegas and Estacion Marte in central Coahuila and  has been named A. intermedius.. A. loydii and A. intermedius are now reduced to synonymy under A. fissuratus as part of a North - South cline. A. fissuratus is found on fragmented  limestone hillsides and flats in compacted sandyclay soils at altitudes of up to 1200m. A fourth variety, A. f. var. hintonii, which grows much further south in northern San Luis Potosi, is now considered to be a sub-species of A. bravoanus.


Ariocarpus fissuratus is easily cultivated in well-drained calcareous mineral soil. The more southerly plants will take progressively more water than the more northerly variants. In cultivation in the UK they flower from late August to mid-October depending on local conditions.

Field Numbers

A full listing of all associated field data can be found on the field number reference pages.

  Ariocarpus fissuratus lloydii

Ariocarpus fissuratus 'lloydii', the largest growing form of the species


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