Calling all writers, especially those who wax poetic! If you have a way with words, here's your chance to put pen to paper and try your hand at writing an award-winning piece for us. Find all the details on our contest page.

Spruce Cone Cholla, Pine Cone Cactus, Pinecone Cactus

Tephrocactus articulatus f. inermis

Family: Cactaceae (kak-TAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Tephrocactus (tef-roh-KAK-tus) (Info)
Species: articulatus f. inermis
Synonym:Tephrocactus articulatus var. inermis
Synonym:Tephrocactus articulatus var. diadematus f. inermis


Cactus and Succulents

Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


18-24 in. (45-60 cm)


18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

36-48 in. (90-120 cm)


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:

White/Near White

Bloom Time:

Mid Spring




Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

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


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

Carefree, Arizona

Chandler, Arizona

Chandler Heights, Arizona

Goodyear, Arizona (2 reports)

Phoenix, Arizona

Tucson, Arizona

Yuma, Arizona

Las Vegas, Nevada

Las Cruces, New Mexico

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Jan 17, 2017, valice from Las Cruces, NM wrote:

It has lived outside in Las Cruces, NM for 12 years. It has gone through a few snow covers including our "big freeze". I use long tongs to handle any of my cacti. I trim it every year by removing some of the cones and give them away.


On Jun 27, 2011, swampwolf from Goodyear, AZ wrote:

Fun plant to have. Produces many branches that will fall off and can be planted after a week or two of drying. Tips of the "pinecone" have short and very sharp spines, handle near the base. Will "wilt" when it needs water and in the dormant growing period during the winter. Recovers quickly.


On May 16, 2009, janscactus from Yuma, AZ wrote:

Fascinating cactus! I have had this plant for many years, growing in my front yard (xeriscape). My long and slender speciman moves back and forth in nearly 180 degree north-south arc. Does anybody know why? Is this common? I love this cactus! janscactus.


On Oct 4, 2004, Xenomorf from Phoenix, AZ (Zone 9b) wrote:

This particular form "inermis" [aka- harmless] has no spines or glochids.

This plant is a sub-variety or Forma of "Tephrocactus articulatus var. diadematus"
Full name: "Tephrocactus articulatus var. diadematus f. inermis"