Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Star Plant, Monk's Hood
Astrophytum ornatum

Family: Cactaceae (kak-TAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Astrophytum (ass-troh-FY-tum) (Info)
Species: ornatum (or-NAH-tum) (Info)

Synonym:Astrophytum ornatum var. ornatum

3 members have or want this plant for trade.

Cactus and Succulents

12-18 in. (30-45 cm)

6-9 in. (15-22 cm)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

Sun Exposure:
Sun to Partial Shade

Plant has spines or sharp edges; use extreme caution when handling

Bloom Color:
Bright Yellow

Bloom Time:
Mid Spring
Late Spring/Early Summer
Mid Summer
Late Summer/Early Fall


Other details:
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
5.1 to 5.5 (strongly acidic)
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From woody stem cuttings
Allow cut surface to callous over before planting
From seed; sow indoors before last frost
From seed; direct sow after last frost
From seed; germinate in vitro in gelatin, agar or other medium

Seed Collecting:
Allow unblemished fruit to ripen; clean and dry seeds
Unblemished fruit must be significantly overripe before harvesting seed; clean and dry seeds
Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored

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By CactusJordi
Thumbnail #1 of Astrophytum ornatum by CactusJordi

By Xenomorf
Thumbnail #2 of Astrophytum ornatum by Xenomorf

By palmbob
Thumbnail #3 of Astrophytum ornatum by palmbob

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Thumbnail #6 of Astrophytum ornatum by palmbob

By franj
Thumbnail #7 of Astrophytum ornatum by franj

There are a total of 49 photos.
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3 positives
No neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive franj On Jul 23, 2007, franj from Tucson, AZ wrote:

In my experience at least, one of the easiest Astrophytums to grow. They will flower prolifically throughout the spring and summer. I have one one in my garden that was baseball sized when planted a decade ago. I pretty much stuck it in the ground and left it to nature. It's now over 14 inches tall and 8 inches across. Grown in some shade it has unfortunately lost most of its flecking.

The pot grown specimen has been grown in full sun and maintained its flecking beautifully. This suggests to me that these plants appreciate the highest level of light you can give them to maintain the beauty and form of the plant. Howhever both plants seem to flower often producing outstanding displays of 2 inch wide flowers.

Fruits are as spiny as the flower bud, nestled down into the spination of the plant, and seed can be a little challenging to collect. When they are ripe they burst open ejecting the top of the flower bud and splaying out sideways among the new growth spines at the top of the plant. I've found a common table fork works well to collect the large black seeds which germinate fairly easily.

Positive leeann6 On Jul 28, 2005, leeann6 from Kermit, TX (Zone 7b) wrote:

This cactus is pretty cold hardy,,, it survived 10F for 4 days and nights. Covered it with a black plastic pot.. was real surprised! I just love it!

Positive palmbob On Sep 19, 2003, palmbob from Acton, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:

Though usually grown in pots as odd and attractive specimens, this plant and most of the other Astrophytums have done well in my old cactus garden in So Cal. Some develop nice twists with age.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Phoenix, Arizona
Tucson, Arizona
Bostonia, California
Fontana, California
Thousand Oaks, California
Kermit, Texas

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