Living Rocks of Mexico
Ariocarpus Assignations
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This article is reproduced form BCSS Journal Vol 11(1)1993, 21, with the  kind permission of the Editor and Bill Weightman.

Bill Weightman


Photos by the Author

Fig. 1: Ariocarpus with long tubercles at the home of Tom Davies.


There seems to be a stirring in the Genus Ariocarpus. Bradleya 7 reported the arrival of a new variety of A. fissuratus and now Bradleya 10 tells of A. bravoanus - a new species, no less. Both of these recent discoveries hail from the Mexican state of San Luis Potosi and I cannot help wondering what else might yet be discovered in this region. 

During a visit to Mexico in 1992, Derek Bowdery and I were generously entertained for a period by Tom Davies at his home near the city of San Luis Potosi.   Tom is a friend and associate of W. A. (Fitz) FitzMaurice, Charles Glass and George S Hinton (of Geohintonia mexicana and Aztekium hintonii fame) and is extremely knowledgeable about the cactus flora in the area.  He promised us a strange Ariocarpus. He took us to a hilly area in the east of SLP, not  far from the border with

 the state of Tamaulipas, and after a long search on the steep hillsides Derek found a single group of just three of the plants. Tom was of the opinion that they had formerly been more plentiful and suspected the natives of 'digging'. The plants were almost certainly referable to A. retusus which seems to he widespread and not uncommon in SLP, but these plants had longer, narrower tubercles and were growing on a steep hillside. All other plants of A. retusus that we found on this trip were growing in more or less flat areas. 

A long detour on the homeward journey to visit the habitat of A. fissuratus v hintonii proved abortive because of lack of time and failing daylight.  But the greatest surprise was a plant growing in a pot at Tom's home. This plant had extremely long, narrow tubercles and, unless it is a solitary freak, must surely he worthy of expert botanical attention.  Unfortunately, Tom could not remember where it had come from except that it was from somewhere in the area of SLP! Photographs of these two ‘odd' Ariocarpus are attached to tickle the fancy of Ariocarpus enthusiasts. Our stay in the area enabled us to examine, in habitat, A. retusus. A. trigonus, A. kotschoubeyanus and its variety v. macdowellii and A. agavoides . A veritable feast.


Fig. 2: Long tubercled form of A. retusus (?)

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