Gymnocalycium damsii

Of all the Gymnocalyciums, this species is probably my favourite.

My first acquired damsii (more likely to be an anisitsii) often maintains a bright green body, with the exception of the pyramidionesque tubercles, which produce different intensities of red mottling around the areoles depending on the season. It started off with 8 ribs at first, but the number has gone up to 13 this year, probably due to the better position I moved my plants to. The newly formed dark-tipped spines are slightly stronger than the older ones, which eventually turn pale and brittle, rendering them not the best in terms of defense. They can, however, be quite painful when it comes to re-potting or accidentally pressing directly down onto them.

My second damsii, in form, appears somewhat more of an archetypal plant of this species, with a darker green body, faint banding on broader ribs, and near-black colouration surrounding the areoles. I have witnessed this plant in particular change colour to almost completely brown in the summer-autumn months. The spines are slightly curved towards the body, and seem much stronger and rigid in comparison to the first plant.

Gymnocalycium damsiiGymnocalycium damsii

Both individual plants are very easy to look after, and fast growing especially when given generous conditions. They seem capable of holding larger amounts of water than others, as shown when they plump out to a point where the ribs and in-between are almost flattened. A healthy fibrous root system is responsible for this, which can be maintained by ensuring the standard free-draining soil mixture is composed with a quantity of fine leafmold.

The plants love a sunny position, but do well with a little shade from direct sunlight in the hottest of weather or by making sure they have access to decent ventilation, e.g. by simply positioning them outside.

Profusely flowering from March to November, petals are usually white, but I have seen some shaded pink or tinged with a faint yellow.

Gymnocalycium damsiiGymnocalycium damsii

Numerous publications point out that Gymnocalycium damsii is very variable, meaning it has the ability to change characteristics from plant to plant despite staying within the same species. For example, a batch of seedlings may, and are likely to be, all subtly or noticeably different to one another. Furthermore, in my experience damsii seem efficient parents for both pollinating other plants and producing their own pods of hybrid origin, especially within the muscosemineum subgroup.

Gymnocalycium damsiiGymnocalycium damsii

Gymnocalycium damsii seed fruit

Fruit inside the pod of this particular plant is a surprisingly deep and vibrant pink. My other damsii also produces pink fruit, but not so intensely, bearing a much paler white colour similar to that of most Gymnocalcyiums. Judging by the amount of seed and the size of the pod, this one appears to have been pollinated well too.


3 Responses to “Gymnocalycium damsii”

  1. Hay i got the same plant and its dieing or some think.. It looks sun burnt and its cracking

    • Out in the garden this summer, my plant has experienced a similar thing. In between two of the ribs theres a slight split, exposing some of the inside sponge/tissue. This can be attributed to overwatering, being outside, it is difficult to monitor the amount of rainfall they get. The only harm here is superficial.

      On the other hand, your plant could have actually been sunburned. I have experienced this in confined areas to some of my plants in the past. Most of the time they survive it, and after another good period of growth from the apex (perhaps in a shadier position) the damage will appear to have moved to the base where is it less noticeable.

      A third possibility is red spider mite, they will most likely infest the crown of the plant where new growth happens. They can leave a brown scab-like scarring. If they are present, look at some of the treatments suggested around the web.

      Cacti, if given a chance to heal, are very good at surviving. Whether the damage is from disease or superficial wounds, they often find ways of producing new growth. Many people will cut off the damaged part of the plant, and depending on how the cut is made, smaller versions of the same plant will form from the previous.

  2. Yeah sounds like that it looks scab like.
    Thanks for the help mate :D

    A third possibility is red spider mite, they will most likely infest the crown of the plant where new growth happens. They can leave a brown scab-like scarring.

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