Leuchtenbergia principis


Near mature specimen.
Younger specimen.
Near mature specimen.
Description: 

The Leuchtenbergia principis is indigenous to north-central Mexico (Coahuila, Durango, Nuevo León, San Luis Potosí, Tamaulipas and Zacatecas). This cactus grows in a semi desert environment. Despite growing throughout a large area, they are sparsely scattered and very difficult to locate. This species is rare with an estimated population size of only 500,000 individuals.

It is thought that the Leuchtenbergia principis is threatened as a result of illegal collection. Moreover, both cattle and goat grazing are reducing its numbers. Thankfully, this species is legally protected in Mexico under the national list of species at risk of extinction, NOM-059-SEMARNAT-2010. It is listed as “threatened” (A; SEMARNAT 2010).

The Leuchtenbergia principis is the sole species of the genus Leuchtenbergia. A one of a kind cactus, it sports extremely long tubercles (the cause for its strong resemblance to an Agave). This species is slow-growing, eventually reaching a fully mature height of approximately 2 1/2 feet. It has a sizeable tuberous taproot. Flowers are large (2" - 4" wide), funnel-shaped, fragrant and yellow. Similarly to cacti within the Astrophytum genus, the Leuchtenbergia principis flowers sporadically throughout the warmer months (spring to autumn).

Regardless of being highly sought after by special collectors, the Leuchtenbergia principis is not all that difficult to cultivate. This species requires a deep pot to accommodate its strong napiform (shaped like a turnip; spherical at the top, but with a tapering bottom), part grown at the stem base along with the sizable rootstock. Rather loose, well-draining mineral soil is needed. Provide full sun to partial shade. USDA Zone is 9a-11.

Synonyms:

Leuchtenbergia principis tariapensis
Leuchtenbergia principis var. trachythele
Leuchtenbergia principis f. gracilis hort.
Anhalonium leuchtenbergii A.Dietr.

Plant Details
USDA Zone Information: 
9a - 11
Family: 
Cactaceae
Flower : 
Yellowish-white
Ideal Light Conditions: 
Sun to partial shade
Ideal Water Conditions: 
Moderate in summer/Dry in winter
Speed of Growth: 
Slow
Mature Height: 
2 - 2 1/2 ft
Mature Width: 
2 - 2 1/2 ft
Latin Name: 
Leuchtenbergia principis
Common Name: 
Agave Cactus, Cob Cactus, Prism Cactus

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