Texas Nipple Cactus

Mammillaria prolifera

Family: Cactaceae (kak-TAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Mammillaria (mam-mil-AR-ee-uh) (Info)
Species: prolifera (pro-LEEF-er-uh) (Info)
Synonym:Mammillaria prolifera subsp. prolifera
Synonym:Mammillaria stellaris
Synonym:Mammillaria pusilla
Synonym:Neomammillaria prolifera
Synonym:Chilita prolifera


Cactus and Succulents

Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun

Sun to Partial 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 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)

Where to Grow:

Can be grown as an annual


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

Bloom Color:

Pale Pink

Pale Yellow


Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

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:

Henderson, Nevada

Austin, Texas

Gardeners' Notes:


On Mar 10, 2017, JanetsBalcony from Austin, TX wrote:

My Texas Nipple Cactus endured a really bad freeze here in Austin in January. Part of it looks pretty dead, but some has enough green that it might come back. How can I tell if it's dead or alive?


On Aug 9, 2013, real_americana from San Diego, CA (Zone 10b) wrote:

I have read that the small fruits of all mammillaria are edible. And these of prolifera are supposed to be very tasty. (I haven't tried them). I read that they have a strawberry taste. Sometimes mammillaria are called "chilita" in Spanish because the fruits look like little chile peppers.


On Jun 4, 2012, caven1981 from Lockport, NY wrote:

A friend went to the local botanical garden and bought me one of these at the gift shop there. It's very fascinating and I love it. I always think that it looks so unhealthy and not happy though, and then it will burst into a round of blooming. Does anyone know if this is normal for this specific cactus?


On Jun 30, 2011, casjack from Indian Trail, NC (Zone 7b) wrote:

This is Mom's. She is so excited with the blooms but has been wondering about the little red thing. We figured it out searching here, its a seed pod. Full of seeds. I left home and lived in TX, loved the Hill Country, but never really got into the Cacti of desert regions. She has shared this plant with a lot of family. Some have never had it bloom. Everything just elongates for some. Mom wanted to get her tweezers and pluck out the red, carefully. I got a picture first. And you see the blossoms emerging like horns. :c) This is one blossom we missed? You can't have a seed without the flower. But the spikes are more pronounced with her cactus. Could this be the same?
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On May 19, 2005, cacti_lover from Henderson, NV (Zone 9b) wrote:

This small cactus will clump profusely as it matures. Eventually it can form clumps up a foot across or even wider. The bright red fruits are showier than the cream colored flowers and last for weeks. It tolerates temperature down to 25F.


On Apr 10, 2005, Xenomorf from Phoenix, AZ (Zone 9b) wrote:

The 'prolifera' & 'haitiensis' subspecies have thicker stems (2.5-3 inch) than the 'arachnoidea & 'texana' subspecies (down to 1.6 inch thick).
The subspecies 'prolifera' has cream to pinkish yellow flowers & yellow spines.
The subspecies 'arachnoidea' has fine & thinner central spines & narrower funnel shaped pinkish flowers.
The subspecies 'haitiensis' has cream-white-yellow flowers and more spines than the other subspecies which gives it a whiter appearance.
The subspecies 'texana' has brown & white spines and pinkish flowers.

More synonyms of this plant are: Escobariopsis prolifera, Ebnerella prolifera, Cactus glomeratus, Cactus proliferus


On Jan 28, 2005, palmbob from Acton, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:

Vigorously clumping, instensely spiny (straight spines) small globoid to columnar cactus from Texas.