Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Sea Urchin Cactus, Cory-Cactus Hedgehog, Prickly Beehive Cactus
Coryphantha echinus

Family: Cactaceae (kak-TAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Coryphantha (kor-ry-FAN-tha) (Info)
Species: echinus (EK-in-us) (Info)

Synonym:Coryphantha radians var. echinus
Synonym:Coryphantha cornifera var. echinus
Synonym:Coryphantha pectinata
Synonym:Mammillaria radians var. echinus
Synonym:Mammillaria echinus

One member has or wants this plant for trade.

Cactus and Succulents

under 6 in. (15 cm)

3-6 in. (7-15 cm)
6-9 in. (15-22 cm)
9-12 in. (22-30 cm)

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 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

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

Bloom Color:
Bright Yellow

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 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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to view:

By leeann6
Thumbnail #1 of Coryphantha echinus by leeann6

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By EricInSF
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By oldmudhouse
Thumbnail #4 of Coryphantha echinus by oldmudhouse

By thistlesifter
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Thumbnail #6 of Coryphantha echinus by DATURA12

By CactusJordi
Thumbnail #7 of Coryphantha echinus by CactusJordi


4 positives
1 neutral
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

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

This plant is at the limit of its hardiness here in an eastern Zone 6b. Some years it survives, other years it doesn't. Very prone to rotting during wet periods at any time of the year. Plant is very striking though, well worth a gamble!

Positive thistlesifter On Dec 31, 2007, thistlesifter from Vista, CA wrote:

Four clones of this nice Cory. These clones were grown from seed collected near Big Bend Texas. These are said to grow in a region where the temperatures drop to 10 degrees F.

Plant is usually simple and isn't prone to grazing damage due to its fierce stout short spines. Often less stout-spined plants are damaged and as a result will sprout new heads.


Positive oldmudhouse On Jul 10, 2007, oldmudhouse from Las Cruces, NM (Zone 8a) wrote:

Coryphantha echinus is dimorphic (existing in two forms) with regard to the central spine. Mature plants may have from zero to four central spines. The immature plants of some native populations often lack central spines.

Their flowers are said to be quite difficult to catch open! In bright light, they usually open fully at noon, and wilt after only an hour or two. By mid afternoon, when most Chihuahuan Desert cacti are at their peak, their flowers are tightly closed.

Neutral Xenomorf On Dec 30, 2005, Xenomorf from Valley of the Sun, AZ (Zone 9b) wrote:

More synonyms of this are: Mammillaria pectinata, Cactus pectinatus & Cactus echinus.

Positive leeann6 On Jun 2, 2005, leeann6 from Kermit, TX (Zone 7b) wrote:

Long, stout, central spines stand straight out from the stem, giving the plant its sea urchin appearance. These central spines are nearly an inch long and are grayish white. The flowers, up to about 3" across, have yellow petals and red stamens. The flowers last briefly, only a couple of hours in the afternoon. They bloom from April through August. The green fleshy fruits are about an inch long. The sea urchin cactus is fairly common at lower elevations in limestone soils.


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

Hesperia, California
Vista, California
East Haddam, Connecticut
Las Cruces, New Mexico
Kermit, Texas

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