Escobaria missouriensis (Sweet) D. R. Hunt
Missouri Foxtail Cactus, Yellow Pincushion Cactus, Plains Nipple Cactus
Mammillaria missouriensis, Coryphantha missouriensis, Coryphantha marstonii, Coryphantha similis, Mammillaria similis, Neobesseya missouriensis, Neobesseya similis, Neomammillaria missouriensis
Escobaria missouriensis is a small cactus with oblate or spheric to obconic stems with elongate tubercles tipped with spine-bearing areoles with short white wool not obscuring the basal portion of the spines. It grows solitary or in clumps. The stems are deep-seated in the soil, becoming flat-topped and nearly subterranean in winter. They are up to 4 inches (10 cm) tall and up to 3.2 inches (8 cm) in diameter. Each areole bears 0 to 2 central spines and 10 to 20 radial ones. The spines are up to 0.8 inches (2 cm) long and vary in color from bright white, pale gray, or pale tan, weathering to gray or yellowish brown, dark brownish orange to pale brown or pale grayish pink tips present on all or only the largest. Flowers are pale greenish yellow to yellow-green with mid-stripes of green or rose-pink to pale brown. They are nearly apical, up to 2 inches (5 cm) long, nearly equal in diameter, and appear from late spring to early summer. Fruits are up to 0.4 inches (10 mm) in diameter and bright orange-red or scarlet when fully ripe. Fruits are orange-red to scarlet, sometimes proximally carmine or nearly magenta. They are spheric to ellipsoid, up to 0.4 inches (1 cm) long, nearly equal in diameter, and contain tiny black seeds.
USDA hardiness zone 7a to 11b: from 0 °F (−17.8 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).
How to Grow and Care
Escobarias are very susceptible to rot and require well-drained soil without any excess water or stagnation. It has been observed that the plants also suffer the environmental humidity, which should preferably remain very low (30 to 50 %). Avoid watering during the winter, when the plant is dormant. Watering Escobaria in cold environmental conditions will almost certainly lead to the death of the plant. In the growing season, the plants, whose growth is typically quite slow, perceive a significant temperature difference between night and day. The experienced grower knows well the difficulties of survival of this genus, which is certainly not one of the easiest to grow.
The seed germination rate is lower than other genera, and other propagation methods are preferable, such as offsets or cuttings.
See more at How to Grow and Care for Escobaria.
This species is native to the United States (Arizona, Idaho, Kansas, New Mexico, North Dakota) and Mexico (Coahuila de Zaragoza, Nuevo Leon).
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