When it comes to captivating cacti, the Naked Bishop's Cap, scientifically known as Astrophytum myriostigma var. nudum, often remains in the shadows, like an unsung hero of the succulent world. But fear not, because this quirky and charming cactus is here to shine its star-shaped light in the succulent realm!
A Quirky Introduction The Naked Bishop's Cap cactus goes by many endearing names, such as the Naked Bishop's Hood cactus, Spineless Bishop’s Cap, Bishop's Hat cactus, and Bishop's Cap. This charming cactus is a member of the Cactaceae family and belongs to the subfamily Cactoideae, tribe Cacteae, and genus Astrophytum.
Now, let's embark on a whimsical journey to uncover the peculiarities and charms of this marvelous plant!
Getting to Know the Naked Bishop's Cap
Difficulty Rating: 🌵🌵 (2 out of 10, with 1 being the easiest)
Scientific Classification Family: Cactaceae Subfamily: Cactoideae Tribe: Cacteae Genus: Astrophytum
Origins and Habitat: The Naked Bishop's Cap cactus, Astrophytum myriostigma var. nudum, isn't exactly a wild wanderer; it's a cultivated cactus born from a fascinating mutation in its cousin, the Astrophytum myriostigma. This charming oddity didn't just appear in the wild—it's a product of nurturing care in nurseries. The original Astrophytum myriostigma hails from the highlands of northeastern and central Mexico.
How Does it Differentiate from a Typical “Spiney” Bishop’s Cap?
1. Spines vs. Spineless: Bishop's Cap Cactus (Typical): As the name suggests, the regular Bishop's Cap cactus, or Astrophytum myriostigma, typically features small spines or thorns on its surface. These spines can be both a defense mechanism against herbivores and a way to collect dew or condensation for hydration.
Naked/Spineless Bishop's Cap: In contrast, the Naked Bishop's Cap, also known as the Spineless Bishop's Cap, lives up to its name. This variety boasts a smooth, spineless appearance. Its stems are devoid of the tiny spines found on the typical Bishop's Cap cactus, giving it a more streamlined and sleeker look.
2. Appearance and Texture: Bishop's Cap Cactus (Typical): The standard Bishop's Cap often features a greenish-blue hue and exhibits small, whitish flecks or scales scattered across its surface. These scales give it a distinctive and somewhat marbled appearance.
Naked/Spineless Bishop's Cap: On the other hand, the Naked Bishop's Cap lacks these white scales, resulting in a more uniform and vibrant green coloration. The absence of scales gives this variety a smoother texture and a cleaner look, making it a unique specimen among cacti.
3. Cultivation and Availability: Bishop's Cap Cactus (Typical): The regular Bishop's Cap cactus is often found in collections of cacti enthusiasts and is native to the highlands of northeastern and central Mexico. Its distinctive appearance and relatively common cultivation make it a sought-after species for succulent enthusiasts.
Naked/Spineless Bishop's Cap: In contrast, the Naked Bishop's Cap, being a product of a mutation within cultivated populations of the typical Bishop's Cap, is less common in the wild. This variety is primarily cultivated in nurseries, making it a rare and sought-after addition to succulent collections. Its scarcity and unique characteristics set it apart from its more common cousin.
4. Aesthetic Appeal: Bishop's Cap Cactus (Typical): The typical Bishop's Cap cactus, with its intricate marbled pattern and the contrast between green and white scales, has its own unique charm. It's a favorite for those who appreciate the subtle elegance of these white flecks.
Naked/Spineless Bishop's Cap: The Naked Bishop's Cap, with its clean and pristine green skin, has a minimalist and modern aesthetic. Its striking coloration and smooth texture make it a standout choice for those who seek a more contemporary and sleek appearance in their succulent collection.
A Botanical Chameleon in Your Garden
The Naked Bishop's Cap cactus is a botanical chameleon as it transforms and matures. Its evolution as it grows larger is a sight to behold and adds to the allure of this remarkable succulent. Here's how the Naked Bishop's Cap changes shape as it blossoms into a larger cactus:
Initial Round Shape: As a young Naked Bishop's Cap cactus, this succulent typically starts its life as a compact and almost spherical plant. It's cute, small, and showcases a charming and simple round shape. Its smooth, spineless surface gives it a somewhat polished and modern appearance.
Rib Formation: One of the most fascinating aspects of the Naked Bishop's Cap's growth is the development of ribs. Unlike the typical Bishop's Cap cactus, which usually has around five ribs, the Naked variety can have anywhere from 3 to 8 ribs as it matures. These ribs give it a unique star-like shape.
The development of ribs is what sets the Naked Bishop's Cap apart and creates its captivating form. As it ages, the once-round plant starts to elongate, and these ribs become more pronounced.
Star-Shaped Transformation: Over time, the cactus evolves from its initial round shape into a mesmerizing star-like figure. The development of ribs not only changes its silhouette but also adds to its overall visual appeal. The ribs radiate outward, creating an almost star-shaped appearance. This transformation is a testament to nature's creative design.
Additional Characteristics: While maturing, the Naked Bishop's Cap cactus undergoes other subtle changes. White, hairy scales might start to develop on the plant, but this is a natural part of its growth and not a cause for concern. These scales often give the cactus a distinct textured look.
Blooming Beauty: The real showstopper occurs when the Naked Bishop's Cap reaches maturity, usually after about 5 to 10 years or more. At this stage, it's ready to unveil its incredible blossoms. These yellow flowers can measure up to 5 cm (2 inches) in diameter and add a beautiful contrast to the green cactus.
Caring for your Star-Shaped Friend
Let There Be Light! This star-shaped wonder adores the limelight. Give it bright, direct sunlight, and it'll thrive. It's even okay with a bit of sunbathing, providing 6-8 hours of direct sunlight per day is ideal. However, be warned, too little light can lead to greener hues and less prominent star patterns. So, a sunny windowsill or some well-placed grow lights are just what this cactus craves.
Soil and Fertilizer Secrets When it comes to soil, the Naked Bishop's Cap insists on a well-draining mix, just like any diva cactus should. Think perlite, pumice, or coarse sand for that extra oomph. We have an incredible premium succulent soil mix available here, hand mixed by us. It's like giving your cactus its very own red carpet. And yes, a layer of sand on top for that extra flair, and protection of course. As for fertilizer, a low-nitrogen diet in spring and summer will have this star performer blooming in no time.
Quenching the Thirst When it comes to hydration, this cactus isn't much of a diva. It enjoys a good drink during the growing season but can easily handle periods of drought. The winter months? Well, they're more about sipping a cactus cocktail. Remember, less is more.
The Growing Season Extravaganza Our Naked Bishop's Cap cactus is a summer-loving star. It begins its grand entrance in spring, continuing to grow through summer and into fall. Regular water and fertilization are a must during this period. But don't worry, when winter comes, and the cactus takes a nap, it's normal for it to appear a bit wrinkled—no need for a cactus-sized spa day.
Showtime: Flowers and Blooms Our starlet graces us with large, yellow flowers that bloom in the summer months, often resembling Daisy’s. However, this cactus follows its own timeline; it might take 5 to 10 years before it's ready to flaunt its floral prowess. But trust us, the wait is worth it!
Propagating the Naked Bishop's Cap Propagating the Naked Bishop's Cap cactus from seeds may not be as easy as it seems. The process involves collecting seeds from mature plants and preparing them by allowing them to air dry. These seeds are then sown on the surface of a well-draining cactus or succulent mix, but they shouldn't be buried as they need light to germinate.
After sowing, the container is covered to create a mini-greenhouse effect and maintain moisture and a stable temperature. Once the seeds germinate, they require filtered sunlight. When the seedlings are large enough, they need to be transplanted with great care, and their delicate roots should be handled gently. Throughout this process, careful watering is essential, and patience is key as it takes time for the young seedlings to mature.
Successfully growing Naked Bishop's Cap cacti from seeds requires diligence and attention to detail, making it a moderate-level challenge for succulent enthusiasts.
The Perfect “Non-Toxic” Roommate The Naked Bishop's Cap cactus is not only a star; it's also a friendly one. It grows up to 120 cm in height, but here's the kicker: it's spineless! Yes, you read that right. It's as thornless as they come. So, if you have little ones or curious pets, it's a cactus that won't cause a prickly situation. Also, good news for pet parents: there's no evidence that the Naked Bishop's Cap cactus is toxic to humans or animals. It's a star with a heart of gold!
A Humble Reminder As with any star, even the Naked Bishop's Cap may encounter a few hiccups. Brown patches may appear but worry not! On mature plants, they're just a natural part of the show. But on younger cacti, it might be a sign of too much TLC in the form of overwatering or sunburn.
Braving the Elements Our Naked Bishop's Cap is quite the trooper, tolerating temperatures as low as -6°C for short periods. However, it's best to keep it above freezing. It's right at home in warm, dry climates, and if you're in a colder region, it can still shine indoors or in a greenhouse.
Defying Pests Pests? Not for this star! While it's generally resistant, it might encounter mealybugs or scale in winter if not kept cool and dormant. A quick cotton swab soaked in rubbing alcohol will send those pests packing.
So, there you have it—the unsung hero of the succulent world, the Naked Bishop's Cap cactus. A charming, quirky starlet with a knack for drama, a lack of thorns, and a heartwarming resilience that deserves the spotlight. Give it some love, a little sun, and watch it shine. It's a cactus that's truly a cut above the rest! Add a little star to your own home, here.🌵⭐