A genus so called because, according to the author, the side reliefs on the ribs evoked the sculptures of the Aztecs.
A genus of small to medium plants, solitary or caespitose, globose, depressed at the apex, with a greyish-green epidermis, weakly spiny, with deciduous spines, with wrinkled ribs, transversally streaked and fibrous roots.
Fowers diurnal, apical, pinkish white to intense pink, or magenta, pollinated by small insects. Fruits rather small, elongated, deep in the apical wool, dry when ripe, with irregular dehiscence. Seeds brown to black, tuberculate and having a strophiole near the hilum. Dispersion is myrmecophilous (by ants).
In their respective habitats, Aztekium ritteri and A. valdezii grow at the foot of the Sierra Madre Occidental, in the
matorral (xerophytic scrub), but rather in the shade, on ravines and steep slopes of weathered slate, while Aztekium hintonii usually grows in full sun, on cliffs and gypsum hills, together with Geohintonia mexicana, Dasylirion sp. and Selaginella sp. These plants grow between 600 m and 1200 m in altitude, in fairly dense colonies, but the few habitats are extremely localized.
Currently, 3 recognised species:
– Aztekium hintonii* Glass & Fitz Maurice 1991
– Aztekium valdezii Velazco, Alvarado & Arias 2013
– Aztekium ritteri* (Boed.) Boed. ex A.Berger 1929