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Escobaria sneedii (Sneed's Pincushion Cactus)


Scientific Name

Escobaria sneedii Britton & Rose

Common Names

Sneed's Pincushion, Sneed's Pincushion Cactus, Sneed's Cory Cactus, Sneed's Cscobaria, Carpet Foxtail Cactus


Coryphantha sneedii, Mammillaria sneedii

Scientific Classification

Family: Cactaceae
Subfamily: Cactoideae
Tribe: Cacteae
Genus: Escobaria


Escobaria sneedii is a small cactus that grows up to 11 inches (27 cm) tall. It may branch profusely, even when small and immature. The stems are coated densely in patches of bright white spines. Each areole may have nearly 70 spines tinted with yellow, pink, purple, or brown. The spines may have dark tips, and as the cactus ages, they darken to gray and even black. The shape of the spines separates the varieties: Escobaria sneedii var. sneedii has straight spines that spread from the areole, and Escobaria sneedii var. leei has curved spines. The cactus blooms in spring, bearing up to 1.2 inches (3 cm) long flowers near the top of its body. The flowers are variable in color. They can be bright to pale pink, white to off-white, greenish, or brownish. Each tepal may have a darker mid stripe of most any color. Fruits are generally either red or green, usually tinged with other colors, and up to 0.8 inches (2 cm) long.


USDA hardiness zones 8a to 11b: from 10 °F (−12.2 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).

How to Grow and Care

Escobarias are very susceptible to rot and therefore require well-drained soil without any water excess 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, like to perceive a significant temperature difference between night and day.

The experienced grower knows well the difficulties of survival of this genus, certainly not one of the easiest to grow. The seed germination rate is lower than other genera, and other propagation methods are preferable as offsets or cuttings.

Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Escobaria.


Native to the Chihuahuan Desert, it occurs in scattered locations in New Mexico, Texas, and Chihuahua.


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