Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Arizona Fishhook Cactus, Fishhook Pincushion, Graham's Fishhook, Lizard Catcher, Sunset Cactus
Mammillaria grahamii

Family: Cactaceae (kak-TAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Mammillaria (mam-mil-AR-ee-uh) (Info)
Species: grahamii (GRAM-ee-eye) (Info)

Synonym:Chilita grahamii
Synonym:Mammillaria microcarpa subsp. grahamii
Synonym:Mammillaria microcarpa
Synonym:Chilita microcarpa
Synonym:Ebnerella microcarpa

One member has or wants this plant for trade.

Cactus and Succulents

under 6 in. (15 cm)

6-9 in. (15-22 cm)
9-12 in. (22-30 cm)
12-15 in. (30-38 cm)

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)

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)
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Mid Spring
Late Spring/Early Summer
Late Summer/Early Fall


Other details:
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
This plant may be considered a protected species; check before digging or gathering seeds
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
Thumbnail #1 of Mammillaria grahamii by Xenomorf

By Xenomorf
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By Xenomorf
Thumbnail #3 of Mammillaria grahamii by Xenomorf

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By shabbyaby
Thumbnail #7 of Mammillaria grahamii by shabbyaby

There are a total of 18 photos.
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3 positives
1 neutral
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive weatherguesser On Jun 5, 2013, weatherguesser from Salinas, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:

I remember this cactus growing wild in the desert around Scottsdale, AZ when I was growing up there. I've had one, bought locally in Salinas, CA, growing in a shallow terra cotta pot with a bunch of other cacti and succulents - the fishhook cactus has developed into a nice little clump of about 10 heads. I've separated a couple to plant in a new small cactus garden in my front yard -- we'll see how they do there.

Positive Pushmar On Oct 13, 2009, Pushmar from Tucson, AZ wrote:

Easy to grow here in Tucson - it's native. Have found broken "Globules", let them scab over and planted them - grow fine, with pretty pink/purple flowers.

Positive IslandJim On Feb 26, 2005, IslandJim from Keizer, OR (Zone 8b) wrote:

Reliable bloomer for winter doldruns in northern latitudes. It's an easy care cactus that has an attractive form even when not blooming.

Neutral Xenomorf On Oct 3, 2004, Xenomorf from Valley of the Sun, AZ (Zone 9b) wrote:

I've seen this cactus growing in the wild in the Phoenix surrounding desert; Oro Valley, AZ; Oracle Junction, AZ; Kearny, AZ & on the 'El Camino Del Diablo Trail' (Devils' Highway) that runs between Ajo and Wellton in Arizona.

More synonyms of this plant are: Mammillaria grahamii var. grahamii, Neomammillaria milleri, Chilita milleri, Mammillaria milleri, Mammillaria microcarpa var. milleri, Mammillaria marnierana, Mammillaria pseudoalamoensis, Neomammillaria microcarpa, Cactus grahamii, Cochemiea grahamii, Chilita grahamii, Mammillaria milleri var. grahamii, Mammillaria microcarpa var. grahamii

Other Common names include: Pitahayita, Choyita, Black-spined Pincushion, Cabeza de Viejo, Fishhook Pincushion, Miller's Pincushion, Olive's Pincushion, Sunset Cactus.


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

Ajo, Arizona
Anthem, Arizona
Catalina, Arizona
Chandler, Arizona
Glendale, Arizona
Kearny, Arizona
Phoenix, Arizona
Salome, Arizona
Tucson, Arizona (2 reports)
Canoga Park, California
Castro Valley, California
Hesperia, California
Salinas, California

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