Pincushion Cactus

January 31, 2023



Photographer: Menashe Davidson     

Summary Author: Menashe Davidson    

The pincushion cactus or Mammillaria is a genus in the Cactaceae family that’s native to the U.S. and Mexico as well as to mid-latitude regions of South America. This cactus is noted for its small size (about 6 inches or 15 cm tall), its rounded or cylindrical shape, its tubercles (rounded projections) arranged in a spiral pattern and its funnel-shaped flowers (about 1 inch or 25 mm in diameter) that form a halo around the top.

I grow this popular cactus in my home garden in Rishon LeZion, Israel. They’re tough plants that tolerate a variety of conditions. What attracted me most is the crown-like formation of the funnel-shaped flowers surrounding the top of the plant (top photo). Mammillaria flowers grow out of the axils between succulent nipple-shaped tubercles. The axils are covered with wooly hairs or bristles, whereas the areoles are often covered with a wool or felt-like substance. Their bloom period, during the summertime, is relatively short – a few weeks, and these cacti hold their flowers for only about one week (bottom photo). Note that when viewing the pincushion cacti from above, a very organized and orderly appearance is observed. Photos taken on November 18, 2022.


Rishon LeZion, Israel Coordinates: 31.9730, 34.7925

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