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Classification System: APG IV

Superregnum: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Cladus: Angiosperms
Cladus: Eudicots
Cladus: Core eudicots
Ordo: Caryophyllales

Familia: Cactaceae
Subfamilia: Cactoideae
Tribus: Cacteae
Genus: Aztekium
Species: A. hintoni - A. ritteri
Source(s) of checklist:

Aztekium Boed., Monatsschr. Deutsch. Kakteen-Ges. 1: 52. 1929.

Type species: Aztekium ritteri (Boed.) Boed.


× Aztekonia Mottram, Cactician 5: 15. 2014.
Formula hybridae: Aztekium Boed. × Geohintonia Glass & W.A.Fitz Maur.

Native distribution areas:

Continental: Northern America
Regional: Mexico
Mexico Northeast

References: Brummitt, R.K. 2001. TDWG – World Geographical Scheme for Recording Plant Distributions, 2nd Edition
Primary references

Boedeker, F. (1929) Monatsschr. Deutsch. Kakteen-Ges. 1: 52.


Govaerts, R. et al. 2021. Aztekium in Kew Science Plants of the World online. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the internet. Accessed: 2021 Mar 04. Reference page.
International Plant Names Index. 2021. Aztekium. Published online. Accessed: Mar 04 2021. 2021. Aztekium. Missouri Botanical Garden. Published on the internet. Accessed: 2021 Mar 04.
Hassler, M. 2021. Aztekium. World Plants: Synonymic Checklists of the Vascular Plants of the World In: Roskovh, Y., Abucay, L., Orrell, T., Nicolson, D., Bailly, N., Kirk, P., Bourgoin, T., DeWalt, R.E., Decock, W., De Wever, A., Nieukerken, E. van, Zarucchi, J. & Penev, L., eds. 2021. Species 2000 & ITIS Catalogue of Life. Published on the internet. Accessed: 2021 Mar 04. Reference page.

Vernacular names
suomi: Tyynykaktukset
svenska: Aztek-Kaktussläktet

The genus Aztekium contains three species of small globular cactus. Discovered in 1929 by F. Ritter, in Rayones, Nuevo León, Mexico, this genus was thought to be monotypic (with Aztekium ritteri) until a second species (Aztekium hintonii) was discovered by George S. Hinton, in Galeana, Nuevo León in 1991. A further possible species, Aztekium valdezii, was described in 2011, but is considered to be a synonym of A. ritteri.[3]


Aztekium ritteri is a small plant (around 20 mm wide), with 9 to 11 ribs, which typically have transverse wrinkles. Its color varies from pale green to grayish-green. The center of the cactus contains a lot of white wool. Flowers are small (less than 10 mm wide), with white petals and pinkish sepals. The plants bear small pinkish berry-like fruits. A. hintonii is larger, to 10 cm in diameter, 10 to 18 grooved ribs, flowers magenta to 3 cm. It grows only on gypsum.

Image Scientific name Distribution
Aztekium hintonii2.jpg Aztekium hintonii Nuevo León.
Aztekium ritteri0056.jpg Aztekium ritteri Mexico.


Its name is dedicated to the Aztec people, due to the resemblance between the plant's shape and certain Aztec sculptures.

This genus is found only in the state of Nuevo León in Mexico. It was estimated[by whom?] that there were in the order of tens of millions of plants of A. hintonii, and at present most of its range is pristine. Though A. ritteri has been collected for decades and there has been destruction of its habitat, the number of plants in habitat is several million.

These species grow extremely slowly, taking around two years to attain a diameter of 3 mm. They are usually propagated by seeds.

The plants contain the following compounds :



"Genus: Aztekium Boed". Germplasm Resources Information Network. United States Department of Agriculture. 2012-04-16. Retrieved 2012-07-31.
"GRIN Species Records of Aztekium". Germplasm Resources Information Network. United States Department of Agriculture. Retrieved 2012-07-31.
"Aztekium valdezii Velazco, M.A.Alvarado & S.Arias". Plants of the World Online. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Retrieved 2019-08-01.

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