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Pelecyphora aselliformis (Peyotillo)


Scientific Name

Pelecyphora aselliformis Ehrenb.

Common Names

Peyotillo, Woodlouse Cactus, Hatchet Cactus


Mammillaria aselliformis, Anhalonium aselliforme, Ariocarpus aselliformis

Scientific Classification

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


Pelecyphora aselliformis is a small, slow-growing clustering cactus with unique, spherical to shortly cylindrical stems that grow up to 4 inches (10 cm) tall and up to 2 inches (5 cm) in diameter. Tubercles are laterally flattened, elongated, and arranged in spirals with 40 to 60 pectinate spines. The flowers are pink to violet with lighter outside petals and up to 1.4 inches (3.5 cm) in diameter.

Pelecyphora aselliformis (Peyotillo)

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USDA hardiness zones 9a to 11b: from 20 °F (−6.7 °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, 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. The cactus mustn't be exposed to prolonged dampness and sitting water. Never let your cactus sit in a dish of water. Lastly, make sure to fertilize during the growing season for the best results.

Repot as needed, preferably during the warm season. To repot Mammillaria, 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. Treat any cuts with a fungicide. Place the plant in its new pot and backfill with potting soil, spreading the roots out as you repot. Leave the plant dry for a week or so, then begin to water lightly to reduce the risk of root rot.

Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Mammillaria.


Pelecyphora aselliformis is native to Mexico.


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