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Austrocephalocereus (Cactus)

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The name of this genus comes from the Latin word "australis" meaning "austral/southern" and the Greek word "kephale" meaning "head" plus the ending "cereus". They are endemic plants of Brazil, where they grow in the dry thorny forest of Caatinga and on rocky hills. These beautiful cacti with very spiny cylindrical stems create distinctive white flowers that bloom only at night. In their natural habitat, they branch out and cluster abundantly at the base, forming impenetrable forests. Austrocephalocereus (sometimes also known as Micranthocereus or Siccobaccatus) usually are columnar cacti, crossed by several ribs and often basally branched. Their epidermis can be covered in very thin spines, that can get up to 7 cm long, and some species are coated in a dense, wolly white hair that make them quite similiar to the “Old Man Cactus” (Cephalocereus). The plants of this genus bloom (often at night) in corrispondence of the pseudocephalia, a thickly hairy structure, laterally to the apex. Grow your Austrocephalocereus using a porous and well draining soil, and a pot that allow the excess water to go out. Both if you want to keep it indoor or outdoor, choose a bright spot where you can alternate direct sun exposition and partial shade: a good amount of sunlight, in fact, will make your cactus grow the beautiful hairy cover, strong spines and will stimulate flowering. Austrocephalocereus genus does not need an excessive amount of water, but during its growing season you will have to water it every time the soil is completely dry, while during winter you can almost totally avoid it. During summer, you could also feed it a high potassium fertilizer. This genus is not the easiest to grow: because of its South American origins, it always needs a minimum temperature of 8°C to grow healthy and fast!