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Epithelantha micromeris f. cristata (Crested Button Cactus)


Scientific Name

Epithelantha micromeris f. cristata

Accepted Scientific Name

Epithelantha micromeris (Engelm.) F.A.C.Weber ex Britton & Rose

Common Names

Crested Button Cactus, Crested Ping-pong Ball Cactus

Scientific Classification

Family: Cactaceae
Subfamily: Cactoideae
Tribe: Cacteae
Subtribe: Cactinae
Genus: Epithelantha


Epithelantha micromeris f. cristata is a small cactus that makes a tangled cluster of beautiful crests. The stem surface is completely obscured by small, ashy grey to white spines. The flowers are small, pink-white, and appear in late winter to early spring. They are followed by bright red, cylindrical fruits that contain several black seeds.


USDA hardiness zones 8b to 11b: from 15 °F (−9.4 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).

How to Grow and Care

To encourage better flowering, allow the plants to enjoy a cooling period in the winter and suspend watering. Unlike many other cacti, which use their ribs as storage devices, Mammillaria feature raised tubercles, from which spines emerge. When you water, the tubercles will expand to allow for increased water storage. The flowers emerge from the axils of these tubercles on the previous year's growth, which accounts for their interesting halo effect. The cactus mustn't be exposed to prolonged dampness and sitting water. Never let your cactus sit in a dish of water. Lastly, make sure to fertilize during the growing season for the best results.

Repot as needed, preferably during the warm season. To repot Mammillaria, make sure the soil is dry before repotting, then gently remove the pot. Knock away the old soil from the roots, making sure to remove any rotted or dead roots in the process. Treat any cuts with a fungicide. Place the plant in its new pot and backfill with potting soil, spreading the roots out as you repot. Leave the plant dry for a week or so, then begin to water lightly to reduce the risk of root rot.

Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Mammillaria.


Epithelantha micromeris f. cristata is a crested form of Epithelantha micromeris.


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