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Mammillaria matudae (Thumb Cactus)


Scientific Name

Mammillaria matudae Bravo

Common Names

Thumb Cactus


Mammillaria matudae f. matudae, Mammillaria compacticaulis

Scientific Classification

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


Mammillaria matudae is a columnar cactus with cylindrical stem up to 12 inches (30 cm) and up to 1.2 inches (3 cm) in diameter. The stem is quite tidy in youth and tends to recline as it elongates giving the old plant a characteristic sprawling habit. Radial spines are 18 to 20, very short, white, with yellowish base. Central spine is up to 0.2 inch (0.5 cm) long, pointing upward, white to nearly black, becoming brownish or grayish with age. The flowers are brilliant pink to purplish-red and up to 0.5 inch (1.2 cm) long.

Mammillaria matudae (Thumb Cactus)

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USDA hardiness zone 9b to 11b: from 25 °F (−3.9 °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, the 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. It's imperative that the cactus is not exposed to prolonged dampness and sitting water. Never let your cactus sit in a dish of water. Lastly, make sure to fertilizer during the growing season for the best results.

Repot as needed, preferably during the warm season. To repot a cacti, 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… – See more at: How to Grow and Care for Mammillaria


It is endemic to Mexico.


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