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Uebelmannia pectinifera


Scientific Name

Uebelmannia pectinifera Buining


Uebelmannia pectinifera subsp. pectinifera

Scientific Classification

Family: Cactaceae
Subfamily: Cactoideae
Tribe: Cereeae
Genus: Uebelmannia


Uebelmannia pectinifera is an attractive cactus, up to 3.3 feet (1 m) tall, with a solitary reddish-brown or green to grey-green stem with or without white scales. The stem is up to 7 inches (17.5 cm) in diameter and has 13 to 40 ribs. The plants grown in shadow are green with white stripes, while the ones in full sun take on a dark frost brown or purple color. The areoles form an almost continuous felt-like line down the ribs' sides, with sparse, grayish, or brownish wool when young. Spines are brown-grey to black, but also whitish or yellowish-brown and up to 0.8 inches (2 cm) long. Flowers are diurnal, greenish-yellow, funnel-shaped, up to 0.5 inches (1.2 cm) in diameter and up to 0.6 inches (1.5 cm) long. They appear sporadically from early spring to late summer.

Uebelmannia pectinifera

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USDA hardiness zones 10a to 11b: from 30 °F (−1.1 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).

How to Grow and Care

Even for cacti, these plants have a low tolerance for cold temperatures, and letting them into even temperate conditions is an easy way to damage them. Make sure to keep well watered, as well, and give them lots of light.

Their roots need some space and really good drainage and keep an eye out for common pests that can damage them. Uebelmannias, however, are such rare and delicate plants that only those with lots of practice growing cacti will likely even have access to them. These will probably only be found in specialty shops, and their cultivation should be left to the experts. If you do cultivate one, though, they are among the most singular-looking of all cacti.

If free-standing in their pots, Uebelmannias can be repotted at the beginning of each growing season by lifting the plant out as a whole and replacing it in a larger container, making sure to spread the roots out in the new soil. Don't pack them in too tightly, as this can damage their root systems and make it hard to retain water. See more at How to Grow and Care for Uebelmannia.


Uebelmannia pectinifera is native to Brazil. Its natural habitats are dry savanna and rocky areas.


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