Flowering Ariocarpus kotschoubeyanus var. macdowellii
As mentioned in an earlier post I'm fairly inexperienced when it comes to growing Ariocarpus and still in the process of building a collection of these fascinating plants. A few months ago I bought a handful of plants from Mesa Garden including three Ariocarpus kotschoubeyanus var. macdowellii plants (SB 100; El Pilar, Coahuila).
I didn't really expect the plants to bloom this season but mid-September one of them greeted me with a beautiful, pale purple flower, so large that it completely covered the plant.
Ariocarpus kotschoubeyanus var. macdowellii flower, top view
I'm growing the plants in an unheated greenhouse in Denmark and specifically selected this variety of Ariocarpus kotschoubeyanus as it comes from the northern extreme of the species' range. The Living Rocks website has the following to say on A. kotschoubeyanus var. macdowellii:
The northern populations are characterized by a form, which has become known as A. kotschoubeyanus var. macdowellii, this is found to the west and east of Parras with a range of over 100km from Viesca to Estatcion Marte in Coahuila. A. kotschoubeyanus var. macdowellii is a smaller plant than the type, with small beak-like tubercles and pale mauve flowers, often with a high white content in the outer petals.
If the macdowellii plants survive the winter in the cold house I'm probably also going to test the larger, magenta flowered, southern form of the species, Ariocarpus kotschoubeyanus var. elephantidens.
Ariocarpus kotschoubeyanus var. macdowellii flower bud
I'm growing the plants in a greenhouse at my summerhouse and can't check in on them on a regular basis, so it felt like a stroke of luck when I was met by a budding A. kotschoubeyanus var. macdowellii one late Friday evening in the middle of September. The next day the plant was in full bloom as illustrated by the pictures above. In early October one of the other macdowellii plants also developed a bud, but unfortunately I didn't see it flower.
Regarding cold hardiness, the A. kotschoubeyanus var. macdowellii plants are going to be tested sooner than expected. Denmark has a cold spell coming and the weather report shows temperatures below -10 C (14 F) within the next few days.