Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Purple Pincushion, Common Ball Cactus, Beehive Cactus
Escobaria vivipara

Family: Cactaceae (kak-TAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Escobaria (es-koh-BAR-ree-uh) (Info)
Species: vivipara (vy-VIP-ar-uh) (Info)

Synonym:Escobaria vivipara var. vivipara
Synonym:Coryphantha oklahomensis
Synonym:Mammillaria vivipara
Synonym:Echinocactus viviparus
Synonym:Coryphantha vivipara

2 vendors have this plant for sale.

8 members have or want this plant for trade.

Cactus and Succulents

Unknown - Tell us

6-9 in. (15-22 cm)

USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)
USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)
USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
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)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun
Sun to Partial Shade
Light Shade

Plant has spines or sharp edges; use extreme caution when handling

Bloom Color:
Magenta (Pink-Purple)
Fuchsia (Red-Purple)

Bloom Time:
Late Spring/Early Summer

Unknown - Tell us

Other details:
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
Suitable for growing in containers

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From woody stem cuttings
Allow cut surface to callous over before planting
From seed; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:
Allow unblemished fruit to ripen; clean and dry seeds
Unblemished fruit must be significantly overripe before harvesting seed; clean and dry seeds
Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored

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By Xenomorf
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By Xenomorf
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There are a total of 21 photos.
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5 positives
2 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive dave12122 On Dec 27, 2010, dave12122 from East Haddam, CT wrote:

A very dependable plant for Eastern Hardy Cactus growers. Needs dry soil, can rot if too wet at any time of the year. However, remarkably tolerant of cold, snow, ice, etc. The flowers are lovely, like pink silk.

Positive filmo70 On Oct 15, 2009, filmo70 from Canton, CT wrote:

This plant is pretty much unkillable. It's survived 126 inches of precipitation since I planted it 25 months ago. The cold snowy and wet winters here have done in some hardy Opuntias I've tried but not this little guy. Flowers readily in June.

Positive angele On Mar 17, 2008, angele wrote:

This cactus is found growing in the wild in Sierra County New Mexico. I know it by the common name Spiny Star. There are a couple growing in my cactus garden that bloom just beautifully.

Positive peachespickett On Mar 25, 2007, peachespickett from Huntington, AR wrote:

Planted in raised bed about 75% sand, 25% gravel here in Western Arkansas. Came through summer humidity and a soaking wet(25+inches in 2 months), freezing rain/snow/minor ice storm winter perfectly unscathed and now getting ready to flower.

Neutral Xenomorf On Mar 3, 2007, Xenomorf from Valley of the Sun, AZ (Zone 9b) wrote:

Another synonym of this plant is Cactus vivipara

Positive leeann6 On Jun 7, 2005, leeann6 from Kermit, TX (Zone 7b) wrote:

The stems of the spiny star may be solitary, but they are commonly branched, sometimes forming mounds. The individual stems are egg-shaped to cylindrical and up to about 5 to 6" long. The spines are very dense, obscuring the stems, and are whitish tipped with brown.

The flowers may be pinkish to purple and up to about 1.5" across. They bloom from June through August. The green fruits are about 1" long.

Neutral darylmitchell On Jun 7, 2005, darylmitchell from Saskatoon, SK (Zone 3a) wrote:

The new taxonomic designation is Escobaria vivipara. It is a very cold-hardy cactus and can be found in Canada from British Columbia to Saskatchewan. Pincushion is a very small cactus that needs dry soils; it can be prone to rotting if in a poorly drained location. It blooms in early July.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Phoenix, Arizona
Greenwood, Arkansas
Golden, Colorado
Canton, Connecticut
East Haddam, Connecticut
Pinconning, Michigan
Lincoln, Nebraska
Elephant Butte, New Mexico
Lawton, Oklahoma
Kermit, Texas
Kennewick, Washington

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