Thumb Cactus

Mammillaria matudae

Family: Cactaceae (kak-TAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Mammillaria (mam-mil-AR-ee-uh) (Info)
Species: matudae
Synonym:Mammillaria compacticaulis
Synonym:Mammillaria matudae var. matudae


Cactus and Succulents

Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Sun Exposure:

Light Shade



Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us


under 6 in. (15 cm)

6-12 in. (15-30 cm)


6-9 in. (15-22 cm)

9-12 in. (22-30 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)

Where to Grow:

Can be grown as an annual


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

Bloom Color:

Fuchsia (red-purple)

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Late Spring/Early Summer

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

Castro Valley, California

Poway, California

Reseda, California

Woodcrest, California

Fort Walton Beach, Florida

Pensacola, Florida

Austin, Texas

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Gardeners' Notes:


On Oct 18, 2005, richarei from Poway, CA wrote:

I bought a 3 inch potted thumb cactus about 2 years ago and planted it in a bowl. It grew to about 8 inches then slowly fell over sideways and continued to grow sideways. I planted it straight up in my cactus garden last week and it is upright but bending a little in the middle. I'm propping it up with two sticks. It is now about 11 inches tall but it is not firm and can be bent a little. Also, the spines are not sharp and you can pick it up bare handed. Small fuscia flowers in a ring around the middle, not on top like most cactus.


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

columnar cactus with very short, closely cropped spines (can be picked up with bare hands usually without much problem) and is a solitary to slowly clumping species from Mexico. This cactus is relatively fast growing and eventually gets tall enought to topple over. Branches eventually, too. Has a distinctive brilliant pink halo of flowers that make a ring, 2-3 flowers thick, around the circumference usually just an inch or two from the growing tip of the cactus in late spring.