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Ariocarpus fissuratus facts for kids

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Ariocarpus fissuratus
Ariocarpus fissuratus2 ies.jpg
Conservation status
CITES Appendix I (CITES)
Scientific classification

Mammillaria fissurata Engelm.
Roseocactus fissuratus (Engelm.) A.Berger
Roseocactus intermedius Backeb. & Kilian

Ariocarpus fissuratus (formerly known as Anhalonium fissuratus) is a species of cactus found in small numbers in northern Mexico and Texas in the United States. Common names include living rock cactus, false peyote, chautle, dry whiskey and star cactus.


This cactus consists of many small tubercles growing from a large tap root. They are usually solitary, rarely giving rise to side shoots from old areoles. The plant is greyish-green in color, sometimes taking on a yellowish tint with age. Its growth rate is extremely slow. A. fissuratus is naturally camouflaged in its habitat, making it difficult to spot. When they are found, it is usually due to their pinkish flowers which bloom in October and early November.


In cultivation, Ariocarpus fissuratus is often grafted to a faster-growing columnar cactus to speed growth, as they would generally take at least a decade to reach maturity on their own. They require very little water and fertilizer, a good amount of light, and a loose sandy soil with good drainage.


Tens of thousands of this protected Texas cacti are annually removed Illegally. Poaching has even extended to Big Bend National Park. Smugglers have taken entire populations of A. fissuratus, primarily for collectors, mainly in Europe and Asia. Loss of such a wide range of genetic variation weakens the species chances of future survival. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, the cactus is protected by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).


Ariocarpus fissuratus is a unique species in that it has been used by Native American tribes as a mind-altering substance, usually only as a substitute for peyote. While it does not contain mescaline like species such as peyote, it has been found to contain other centrally active substances, such as N-methyltyramine and hordenine, albeit in doses too small to be active.

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