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Mammillaria senilis

Family: Cactaceae (kak-TAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Mammillaria (mam-mil-AR-ee-uh) (Info)
Species: senilis (SEE-nil-is) (Info)
Synonym:Mamillopsis senilis
Synonym:Cochemiea senilis


Cactus and Succulents

Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Where to Grow:

Suitable for growing in containers


under 6 in. (15 cm)


6-9 in. (15-22 cm)


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:

Light Shade


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

Bloom Color:


Bloom Time:

Mid Spring


Unknown - Tell us

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:

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

From woody stem cuttings

Allow cut surface to callous over before planting

From seed; direct sow after last frost

From seed; germinate in vitro in gelatin, agar or other medium

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:

Phoenix, Arizona

Tucson, Arizona

San Diego, California

Fort Walton Beach, Florida

Gardeners' Notes:


On Oct 16, 2014, Fires_in_motion from Vacherie, LA (Zone 9a) wrote:

I've had many cacti, but this one has by far the most evil spines of any, without doubt. If one gets into your skin or clothing (including seemingly impenetrable gloves), your instinct will be to roll your wrist to dislodge it. This ensures that 10 or more spines will instantly grab into you. I had to physically cut myself free from this plant. I found the best thing to do is to simply cut off all the hooked tips on the lower half of the plant, so that you can repot it. The flowers are big and red, unusual for a Mammillaria. Unfortunately, mine had its entire root system break off while I was wrestling myself free from its spines. So I set it aside for a few months to wait for new roots to grow back, which happens quickly with most Mammillarias. But none grew back, and the bottom hal... read more


On Sep 23, 2004, palmbob from Acton, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:

ornamental plant with small but deadly sharp, hooked spines. Huge showy red flowers (huge for a Mammillaria).