Astrophytum asterias

Astrophytum asterias (Karw. ex Zucc.) Lem.
🌵 Author(s)
🌵 BasionymEchinocactus asterias ()
🌵 Basionym author(s)
🌵 Type of Astrophytum ser. Anastrophytum

Latin astĕrĭas ‘starfish’. Zuccarini maintained the name given to this species by its collector Karwinsky “because it very appropriately describes the habit”, which he considered very similar to that of Astrophytum myriostigma. The genus Astrophytum (Greek astēr ‘star, starfish’ + Greek phyton ‘plant’) was so named by Charles Lemaire because he thought Astrophytum myriostigma resembled a starfish (Lemaire: “asterias”). It has often been noted that Astrophytum asterias bears a striking resemblance not to a starfish, but to a sea urchin. Dieter Helm (Biologie der Kakteen: 34-35. 2010) suggests that Karwinsky and Zuccarini must have confused the two animals, but the fact that Zuccarini considered Astrophytum asterias very similar in habit to Astrophytum myriostigma (which was also named after a starfish and looks nothing like a sea urchin) speaks against this theory.

How to cite

van der Meer, Maarten H.J. (2022, July 20). Astrophytum asterias. Dictionary of Cactus Names. Retrieved from