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Mammillaria tetrancistra (Common Fishhook Cactus)


Scientific Name

Mammillaria tetrancistra Engelm.

Common Names

Common Fishhook Cactus


Mammillaria phellosperma, Phellosperma tetrancistra

Scientific Classification

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


Mammillaria tetrancistra is a fishhook cactus, with a generally single cylindrical stem up to 10 inches (25 cm) tall and up to 3 inches (7.5 cm) in diameter. Each cluster of spines is made up of 3 or 4 dark, hooked central spines and many straight, white radial spines. The flower is up to 1.6 inches (4 cm) wide and pink to lavender in color. The fruit is red, shiny, and fleshy and contains many black seeds.


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


Native to the Mojave and Sonoran Deserts of northern Mexico and the southwestern United States.


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