Rainbow Pincushion

Mammillaria rhodantha subsp. pringlei

Family: Cactaceae (kak-TAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Mammillaria (mam-mil-AR-ee-uh) (Info)
Species: rhodantha subsp. pringlei
Synonym:Cactus pringlei
Synonym:Mammillaria pringlei
Synonym:Neomammillaria pringlei
Synonym:Mammillaria rhodantha var. pringlei


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:

Suitable for growing in containers


6-12 in. (15-30 cm)


3-6 in. (7-15 cm)

6-9 in. (15-22 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)

USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 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)

Bloom Time:

Mid Spring

Late Spring/Early Summer


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:

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:

Phoenix, Arizona

Reseda, California

Austin, Texas

Gardeners' Notes:


On Jul 24, 2011, Fires_in_motion from Vacherie, LA (Zone 9a) wrote:

I bought my first one (grown locally) in 2006. It was only today that I confirmed its botanical name thanks to the photos on PlantFiles. It is now 6" tall and 3.5" wide, which doesn't sound very impressive, but it is. The longest spines are a little over an inch long. It has withstood our very taxing winter conditions, while occasionally being brought into the garage for short stretches during frosts.
From experience, I can fully agree with palmbob's statement "Very easy cactus to grow with a lot of cold hardiness and ability to tolerate excessive watering."
The spines are a terrific golden yellow, and they are even pettable, if you pet down at just the right angle. It flowers like crazy, though it would take a very enterprising insect to go down into those spines to pol... read more


On Aug 20, 2010, palmbob from Acton, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:

commonly available species, much more so than the regular red-spined M rhodanthas. Flowers much of the year. Very easy cactus to grow with a lot of cold hardiness and ability to tolerate excessive watering. Mine are bit prone to mealy bug, but otherwise one of the easiest cacti I grow outdoors in southern California


On Sep 15, 2008, AnalogDog from Mountlake Terrace, WA (Zone 8a) wrote:

A beautiful little Mamm, with nice golden spines. Young spines are very sharp and pointy. Older spines appear to lose their tips and curve heavily.

According to the New Cactus Lexicon, this plant is M. pringlei.


On Feb 18, 2005, Xenomorf from Phoenix, AZ (Zone 9b) wrote:

The subspecies 'aureiceps' has flowers that range from dark pink to red. It has roughly 25 gold-yellow radial spines and 4-7 central spines per areole.
The subspecies 'pringlei' has deep magenta flowers. It has 18-22 yellow radial spines and 4-7 golden yellow central spines, slighly curved inward and longer than the other subspecies.
The subspecies 'rhodantha' has 17-24 almost translucent clear white radial spines and 4-7 reddish to red-brown central spines curved inward slightly which are longer than the other subspecies. The flowers are a deep purple-pink.
The subspecies 'fera-rubra' has 15-18 white radial spines and reddish brown central spines that are shorter than the 'rhodantha' subspecies. Flowers range from dark pink to red and are smaller.
The subspecie... read more