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Escobaria sneedii (Sneed's Pincushion Cactus)

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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

Synonyms

Coryphantha sneedii, Mammillaria sneedii

Scientific Classification

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

Description

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. The spines may be tinted with yellow, pink, purple, or brown. They may have dark tips, and as the cactus ages, the spines 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 flowers up to 1.2 inches (3 cm) long 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. The fruits are generally either red or green, usually tinged with other colors, and up to 0.8 inches (2 cm) long.

Hardiness

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 methods of propagation are preferable as offsets or cuttings.

Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Escobaria.

Origin

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

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