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Silken Pincusion

Mammillaria bombycina

Family: Cactaceae (kak-TAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Mammillaria (mam-mil-AR-ee-uh) (Info)
Species: bombycina (bom-BEE-kin-uh) (Info)
Synonym:Neomammillaria bombycina
Synonym:Chilita bombycina
Synonym:Ebnerella bombycina


Cactus and Succulents

Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Sun Exposure:

Sun to Partial Shade

Light Shade


Unknown - Tell us

Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us


under 6 in. (15 cm)


9-12 in. (22-30 cm)

12-15 in. (30-38 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)

Where to Grow:

Can be grown as an annual


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

Bloom Color:


Magenta (pink-purple)

Medium Purple

White/Near White

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Late Winter/Early Spring

Mid Spring

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

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:

Chandler, Arizona

Phoenix, Arizona

Tucson, Arizona

Castro Valley, California

San Diego, California

Fort Walton Beach, Florida

Henderson, Nevada

Onalaska, Washington

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Mar 5, 2013, Fires_in_motion from Vacherie, LA (Zone 9a) wrote:

An awesome cactus, easily one of the best Mammillarias. Shrugs off all the cold temps here in zone 9A (south Louisiana), can tolerate excess water, is very showy overall. A must-own for all plant lovers, not just cactus fanatics. Can be fairly variable, so if your tastes are like mine, make sure to get one with lots of white tomentum ("fur") and golden-ish spines. I've also noticed the ones grown (and sold at Home Depot and Lowe's) by Altman Plants tend to have larger bodies and have less willingness to offset than most of the show-quality specimens I've seen online. Does anyone know if the heavily clustering form is more of a correct "wild" form?

I currently (April '2013) have four of these plants.


On Aug 20, 2008, AarronIkarus from Onalaska, WA (Zone 8b) wrote:

I have had great success propogating this plant by snapping off the little buds. I started with a single, long stem and cut it in half. This also has the benefit of encouraging many more buds to form.


On Feb 7, 2005, Xenomorf from Phoenix, AZ (Zone 9b) wrote:

This plant often grows many stems from the base that forms a clump. Flowers are pink-purple with darker midviens. Flowers also reported to be white.


On Mar 27, 2004, palmbob from Acton, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:

Solitary sometimes but best if clumping small Mexican cactus with pink flowers and hooked spines that grab you if you get too close. This species has some ornamental 'wool' or 'snow' at the tops of the little columns.