Why Is The Star Cactus Endangered

Although habitat change is still the main factor contributing to the star cactus’ population reductions, herbivory and diseases will also have an impact on the species’ dwindling numbers.

What makes the cactus so vulnerable?

Cacti are in a worse predicament than pandas, which are in danger, and birds of prey generally. Nearly one-third of the cactus species are in danger of going extinct. This startling statistic is the result of an extensive study on cactus that was conducted globally by the IUCN’s Global Species Programme in partnership with the University of Exeter’s Environment and Sustainability Institute.

The report, which was released by Nature Plants, states that 31% of cactus species are endangered. Researchers claim that illegal trade—where more than half of the world’s 1,480 cactus species are utilized by people—and human-related activities, like the conversion of land into agricultural or residential areas, pose serious threats to cacti.

This implies that an apparently benign hobby like cultivating cactus at home could have a big impact on the extinction of some species. 47 percent of vulnerable plants are involved in the illegal trade of plants and seeds to serve the horticultural business.

The largest markets for the illicit trade in cacti are in Europe and Asia. In actuality, wild populations provide 86 percent of the vulnerable cactus utilized in horticulture. Price per plant for rare species like the Ariocarpus can reach $1,000.

Cacti serve crucial biological purposes by providing food for desert animals such coyotes, lizards, tortoises, bats, and hummingbirds. These animals then disseminated the seeds of the catus. Furthermore, cacti are grown in many rural areas to make food or medication.

IUCN Director General Inger Andersen commented, “These findings are troubling. “They indicate that there are many more species affected by wildlife trafficking than just the famous rhinos and elephants that typically garner global attention. The scale of the illegal wildlife trade, including trading in plants, is significantly bigger than we had previously imagined. If we wish to stop the continuing decrease of these species, we must immediately increase international efforts to combat the illegal wildlife trade and boost the execution of the CITES Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.

Cacti have thorny armor to protect them from predators, little water requirements, and the ability to withstand harsh climates. Most likely as a result of these traits, they are frequently disregarded while planning conservation operations. In the IUCN Red List of endangered species, cactus are now the fifth most threatened species.

How many star cacti are still standing?

The Tamaulipan thornscrub ecoregion in extreme southern Texas, USA, as well as Tamaulipas and Nuevo Leon, Mexico, is home to the endemic Astrophytum asterias, also known as the star cactus. It is a federally classified endangered species. In Texas, there are currently only three metapopulations with a combined total of fewer than 4000 plants. The star cactus, often referred to as “star peyote” locally, is highly prized by collectors. Peyote (Lophophora williamsii), which grows in the same or nearby areas, is occasionally confused for this little, dome-shaped, spineless, eight-ribbed cactus. Local Hispanics in Texas harvest peyote from its natural thornscrub environments and sell it to peyoteros, authorized distributors who then sell it to members of the Native American Church. In Texas, annual peyote harvests are close to 2,000,000 “buttons” (crowns). Even though they don’t purchase star cacti from harvesters, peyoteros grow them in peyote gardens at their places of business and offer them as lagniappe to their clients. The annual take of this endangered cactus surpasses the total number of wild specimens known in the United States if even 0.1 percent of harvested “peyote” is actually star cactus. Together with data from interviews with locals, this accurate but unquantifiable take raises the possibility that there are far more populations of star cacti than have previously been reported.

Where may one find a star cactus?

Worldwide Location South Texas’s Rio Grande Valley is home to star cacti (Starr and Zapata counties, historically in Hidalgo, and reported from Cameron County although no habitat exists there). The cactus is also found in Coahuila, Nuevo Leon, and Tamaulipas in northern Mexico.

How old are star cacti?

Since I was a young child, I’ve grown cactus, but I’ve never seen one pass away from old age. I can’t say that I’ve managed to keep every cactus I’ve ever owned healthy and happy to this day, but more often than not, the issue has been my subpar maintenance rather than the cactus’ longevity. It made me wonder how long cacti actually survive.

There are actually more than 1500 different species of cactus. Although there is a significant range in their lifespans, it turns out that they are all fairly long-lived plants.

Depending on the species, cactus longevity normally ranges from 10 to 200 years. In ideal circumstances, cacti grown outdoors typically live longer than those grown as indoor houseplants. However, many indoor cacti can live for many years with proper care.

The Saguaro cactus, which is indigenous to the deserts of Arizona and Mexico, is regarded to be the cactus with the longest lifespan. Stunning and well-known, this cactus may reach heights of 60 to 70 feet and has a lifespan of 150 to 200 years.

Even one who was believed to be around 300 years old lived in Arizona until the mid-1990s. Amazing cactus in Saguaro National Park eventually succumbed to bacterial illness, which elderly cacti are susceptible to, especially if they have been injured and are already fragile.

Not all cactus species exhibit this longevity. The lifespan of the barrel cactus is between 50 and 100 years, which is not as lengthy as other cacti. They have been known to live up to 130 years, though.

In contrast, it is believed that Opuntia, or prickly pear cactus, live for only 20 to 30 years on average.

To learn how long different cacti survive, researchers have conducted demographic studies on them. The highlighted cacti below all have known lifespans.

  • The lifespan of Cephalocereus columnatrajani can reach 145 years.
  • Neobuxbaumia macrocephala has a 200-year life span.
  • The typical lifespan of the little Escobaria robbinsorum is 17 years.

What is required for a star cactus to survive?

  • Species of Astrophytum can make wonderful allies for other succulents, cacti, and indoor plants. Their vibrant blossoms can produce stunning interior settings.
  • The Astrophytum cacti are sometimes described as “living rocks.” The A. Myriostigma, A. Capricorne, A. Ornatum, A. Asterias, A. Caput-Medusae, and A. Coahuilense species are all members of this genus.
  • The Goat’s Horn Cactus, Monk’s Hood Cactus, Bishop’s Cap Cactus, and Sand Dollar Cactus are the names of the first four species described above, respectively.
  • As long as they receive plenty of direct sunshine and are grown in a warm area, star cacti can thrive with little care.
  • They can store a lot of water, like all cactus, so they can endure protracted droughts. As a result of their susceptibility to root rot, you should refrain from overwatering them.
  • Plant your Star cacti in a pot with drainage holes at the bottom and fill it with the well-draining cactus mix if you want them to enjoy the time of their lives.
  • They need to be replanted frequently, and given a nice meal during the growing season. Reduce fertilizer use after winter has arrived.
  • You can plant them near your curious family members because, in general, they are not poisonous to humans or animals. Although some Star cacti can be quite spiky, keep that in mind.

What kind of plant is a star cactus?

Small and without spines is the star cactus. Its dimensions are 0.7–6 in (2–15 cm) broad, up to 2.7 in (7 cm) tall, and it has a disk- or dome-like shape. This species has tiny white scale flecks across its brownish or drab green body. As a result of vertical grooves splitting the main body, there are eight triangular portions. A center line of circular indentations filled with wooly hairs that range in hue from straw to yellowish marks each region. Yellow flowers with orange centers are present. The diameter of these blossoms can reach 2 inches (5 cm). The round, meaty fruits range in color from green to grayish-red and are about 0.5 in. (1.25 cm) long.

How do star cactus grow?

How to Take Care of and Grow a Star Cactus

  • Use sandy potting soil that drains well when you plant the star cactus.
  • Put the star cactus in a bright area.
  • Sparingly water the star cactus.
  • During the star cactus’ growing season, fertilize it.
  • Place your cactus somewhere warm.

How long does it take astrophytum to grow?

After a week, you should start to notice tiny, green Astrophytum sprouts if your seeds are healthy. After a few weeks, I would gradually relocate the box to a brighter location to allow the seedlings to adjust to the light. It is advisable to periodically open the box to inspect it for any fungal or algae issues. To combat fungal or powdery mildew, mist copper or tilt fungicide. For severe algae problems, use hydrogen peroxide (3%).

General Care for Haworthia retusa “Star Cactus

Retusa Haworthia “The star cactus is a wonderful addition to window sills or rock gardens. Similar to the windowed leaves of Fenestraria rhopalophylla, its green, windowed leaves capture sunlight “Little Toes.

Where to Plant

“Star Cactus is not cold hardy, so it’s best to grow this cactus in a container that can be moved indoors if you reside in a region that experiences temperatures below 20 F (-6.7 C). It thrives in full to part sun and grows exceptionally well indoors.


Use a clean, sharp knife or pair of scissors to propagate “Star Cactus from cuttings. Take a stem from the main plant and place it on well-draining soil after letting it callus for a few days. When the soil is fully dry, add water.


Small offsets of the Haworthia retusa “Star Cactus will grow around the plant’s base. Simply dig these up and replant in well-draining soil after letting the offsets dry for one to two days.