Ariocarpus fissuratus (Engelm.) K. Schum.
Chautle livingrock, Living rock cactus
Cactaceae (Cactus Family)
Synonym(s): Mammillaria fissurata
USDA Symbol: arfi
Ariocarpus fissuratus is the only US representative of a small genus of spineless cacti that grow close to the ground, with the greater part of the plant below the surface, above a thick taproot. Plants have a rosette arrangement of wrinkled, triangular tubercles, colored brown, gray or green. During dry periods the stems shrink and become even less visible, merging with the ground, hence the common name of living rock cactus. The fissuratus species inhabits arid, rocky, low elevation regions of the Chihuahuan Desert and is slow growing, but eventually, after several decades, becomes around 5 inches in diameter. Brightly colored flowers emerge from a woolly mass at the top of the plant in fall or early winter, the only time when the cactus is easy to locate. The stem is grey, green or brown in color, becoming partly yellow with age.
Description provided courtesy of The American Southwest.
From the Image Gallery
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial
Size Notes: Flat up to 6 in. diameter.
Flower: Pale pink to purple with an orange center, borne from the tip.
Size Class: 0-1 ft.
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Pink , Purple
Bloom Time: Jul
Bloom Notes: Day flowering.
Native Distribution: The Big Bend region of west Texas, extending a little way west and east, close to the Rio Grande.
Native Habitat: Limestone ridges, generally at low elevations.
Growing ConditionsWater Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Dry
Drought Tolerance: High
BibliographyBibref 1140 - Cacti (1991) Clive Innes and Charles Glass
Search More Titles in Bibliography
Web ReferenceWebref 15 - The American Southwest (1994) John Crossley
Additional resourcesUSDA: Find Ariocarpus fissuratus in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Ariocarpus fissuratus in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Ariocarpus fissuratus
MetadataRecord Modified: 2013-06-28
Research By: TWC Staff