Etymology -Named after the Ortega family, who helped Tom MacDougall find this plant in 1951.
Ortegocactus is a cactus genus that consists of only one species that was discovered relatively recently in the second half of the 20th century. It grows in a very small area on limestone in Oaxaca, Mexico.
The plants begin as solitary stems which do not exceed 2 inches in diameter and as they age, form small clumps of several stems. The stems are tuberculate with gently-rounded tubercles topped with small areoles. Sines are grey-white with black tips. The overall appearance of these plants is more like a blob rather than a tidy round ball - especially when dehydrated.
Flowers are bright yellow and funnel-shaped at the top of the stem and feature a green stigma.
An interesting characteristic of this plant is the beautiful gray-green dermis, which is notably porous and has a skin-like appearance. Like so many of the small species of Mexican cacti, Ortegocactus is highly prized by collectors. However, as these plants age, they tend to develop rust-colored spots on them even in the care of the most accomplished growers.