Mammillaria guelzowiana

Mammillaria guelzowiana

Scientific Name

Mammillaria guelzowiana Werderm.


Krainzia guelzowiana, Phellosperma guelzowiana, Bartschella guelzowiana

Scientific Classification

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


Mammillaria guelzowiana is a small cactus, solitary at first, but it clusters at a very young age. Stems are globose, apically depressed, with conical and cylindrical tubercules. They grow up to 2.8 inches (7 cm) tall and up to 4 inches (10 cm) in diameter. It has 1 to 6 central spines, one usually hooked. They are reddish-brown to yellow and up to 1 inch (2.5 cm) long. The 60 to 80 radial spines are white, hair-like, and up to 0.6 inches (1.5 cm) long. Flowers are bell-shaped, bright pink to purplish red, up to 1.6 inches (4 cm) long, and up to 2.8 inches (7 cm) in diameter. They appear in late spring and summer. Fruits are pale red or yellowish-white, almost globose, and up to 0.3 inches (0.8 cm) in diameter.


USDA hardiness zones 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, Mammillaria feature raised tubercles, from which spines emerge. When you water, the tubercles will expand to allow for increased water storage. The flowers appear from these tubercles' axils 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. See more at How to Grow and Care for Mammillaria.


It is endemic to Mexico.


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Mammillaria Species, Big Pink Pincushion Cactus, Biznaga de Durango


Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant suitable for xeriscaping

Average Water Needs Water regularly do not overwater

Sun Exposure:


Foliage Color:




USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 °C (25 °F)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 °C (30 °F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 °C (35 °F)

USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 °C (40 °F)

Where to Grow:

Can be grown as an annual


Plant has spines or sharp edges use extreme caution when handling

Bloom Color:

Bloom Characteristics:

Bloom Size:

Bloom Time:

Other details:

Soil pH requirements:

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:

By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)

Allow cut surface to callous over before planting

From seed direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:

Allow seedheads to dry on plants remove and collect seeds

Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Gardeners' Notes:

On Aug 20, 2010, palmbob from Acton, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:

This is indeed a nice plant when it flowers. when not flowering, it is not one of the most beautiful Mammilliarias, but it can make a nice potted plant if grown carefully and kept warm, dry and in very bright light (some climates, like central and southern Arizona most grow this under shade cloth as bright sun can be harsh on it). Mexican species. Rots easily if allowed to stay wet, particularly when cold. Has hooked spines so careful.

On Mar 1, 2004, albleroy from Wavre/ greenhous +/- 2500 species, IA wrote:

This, probably showiest-flowered Mammillaria, was recolted in Durango, 15 miles NW of highway 45, grassy slopes of the mountains N of the Rio Nazas

Mammillaria guelzowiana is a perennial plant that grows fleshy, globose, at first solitary and then forming groups. The stems have a spherical, apically depressed, about 7 inches tall and 4-10 inches in diameter. Tubercules are conical and cylindrical. They do not contain latex. The plant has 1-6 thin central spines, needle shaped, yellowish red, 8 to 25 millimeters long. The 60-80 radial spines are long and twisted, about 15 mm long. The bell-shaped flowers are purple, more or less bright, up to 4 inches long and can reach 7 inches in diameter. The fruits are almost spherical, bright red or yellowish white, about 8 mm in length.

Its natural habitat are hot deserts and grassy mountain tops, at an elevation of 1,300–1,700 metres (4,300–5,600 ft) above sea level.

Mammillaria guelzowiana - garden

Origin and Habitat: Mammillaria guelzowiana is found west of Nazas in Durango, Mexico an additional population has been recorded at north of Mina de Navidad.
Altitude range: It grows at an altitude of 1300-1700 metres above sea level.
Habitat: Grassy mountain tops on volcanic rocky outcroppings in semi-desert together with Thelocactus heterochromus, Coryphantha longicornis, Echinofossulocactus multicostatus, Echinocereus durangensis, Echinocereus pectinatus, Fouquieria splendens, and Opuntia imbricata.
Mammillaria guelzowiana was common. This species had an estimated population size of more than 10,000 plants in 1994. A subsequent visit in 2000 revealed a population reduced by more than 95% to less than 500, apparently largely a result of the 1997 freeze on Mexico’s altiplano. It is critically Endangered. The major threats for this species are temperature extremes, and probably illegal collecting.

Description: Mammillaria guelzowiana is a soft small solitary or clustering cactus, with the stems obscured by spines, but this specie tends to impress because of its bright magenta flower about 6 cm in diameter - very large for a Mammillaria!
Stem: Globose depressed apically, 4-10 cm in diameter up to 7 cm high. Without latex.
Tubercles: Conical to cylindrical, flabby. The axil is naked.
Radial spines: 60-80, many white hair-like, with some other tan stiff radials, twisted, smooth, to 15 mm long.
Central spines: 1 - 6, slender, needle-like, reddish brown to yellow, 8 - 25 mm (0.3 - 1 in) long, one hooked.
Flowers: Bell shaped to funnelform Bright pink to intense purplish red with light scent, to 4 cm long and 7 cm in diameter.
Blooming season: June/July
Fruits: Nearly globose, pale red or yellowish white, to 8 mm long.
Seeds: Black.

Subspecies, varieties, forms and cultivars of plants belonging to the Mammillaria guelzowiana group

Bibliography: Major references and further lectures:
1) James Cullen, Sabina G. Knees, H. Suzanne Cubey "The European Garden Flora Flowering Plants: A Manual for the Identification of Plants Cultivated in Europe, Both Out-of-Doors and Under Glass" Cambridge University Press, 11/Aug/2011
2) Stuart Max Walters “The European garden flora. 3.[Angiospermae], Dicotyledons. [Casuarinaceae to Aristolochiaceae]” Cambridge University Press, 1989
3) Edward Anderson “The Cactus family” Timber Press, Incorporated, 2001
4) Hiroshi Hirao “Colour encyclopaedia of cacti” Seibundo Shinkosha, 1979
5) David R Hunt Nigel P Taylor Graham Charles International Cactaceae Systematics Group. "The New Cactus Lexicon" dh books, 2006
6) Fitz Maurice, W.A. & Fitz Maurice, B 2013. Mammillaria guelzowiana. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015.2. . Downloaded on 07 July 2015.

Mammillaria guelzowiana Photo by: Colin Bundred
Mammillaria guelzowiana Photo by: Julio C. García
Mammillaria guelzowiana Photo by: Colin Bundred
Mammillaria guelzowiana Photo by: Andrea B.
Mammillaria guelzowiana Photo by: Valentino Vallicelli

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