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Ariocarpus fissuratus (Chautle livingrock)
Juett, William

Ariocarpus fissuratus

Ariocarpus fissuratus (Engelm.) K. Schum.

Chautle Livingrock, Living Rock Cactus, Texas Living Rock

Cactaceae (Cactus Family)

Synonym(s): Mammillaria fissurata


USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

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

23 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Cactus/Succulent
Fruit Type: Berry
Size Notes: Flat, up to 6 in. diameter. Up to about 4 inches tall. Often found about 2 inches tall.
Flower: Pale pink to purple with an orange center, borne from the tip.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Pink , Purple
Bloom Time: Jul , Aug , Sep , Oct , Nov
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 Conditions

Water Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Dry
Drought Tolerance: High


Bibref 1140 - Cacti (1991) Clive Innes and Charles Glass

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Web Reference

Webref 15 - The American Southwest (1994) John Crossley

Additional resources

USDA: Find Ariocarpus fissuratus in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Ariocarpus fissuratus in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Ariocarpus fissuratus


Record Modified: 2021-09-27
Research By: TWC Staff

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