Mammillaria decipiens-Bird’s Nest Pincushion

Mammillaria decipiens (Bird’s Nest Pincushion) after I brought it home on 3-19-18, #418-9.

Bird’s Nest Pincushion

Mammillaria decipiens

mam-mil-AR-ee-uh  de-SIP-ee-enz

Mammillaria decipiens Scheidw. is the correct and accepted scientific name for this cactus. It was named and described by Michael Joseph François Scheidweiler in Bulletins de l’Académie Royale des Sciences et Belles in 1839.

This cactus is native to San Luis Potosi, Guanajuato and Queretaro, Mexico and Eastern Mexico.


Mammillaria decipiens (Bird’s Nest Pincushion) on 3-21-18, #419-12.

I bought this cactus from Wal-Mart on 3-19-18. It is very interesting cactus. It’s like the main plant with maybe 5 smaller ones growing on one side. The cluster measures 1 1/2” tall x 3” wide. It has completely filled this 2 3/4” diameter x 2 1/4” tall pot, which is bulging. It has long white radial spines that grow sideways from the tubercles and brown central spines that stick out like stiff hair. Cactus that have protruding tubercles like this one are often called nipple cactus. OUCH!

Family: Cactaceae
Origin: San Luis Potosi, Guanajuato, and Queretaro, Mexico. Eastern Mexico
Zones: USDA Zones 10a-11 (30-40° F)
Light: Light to part shade
Soil: Fast-draining. Potting soil amended with additional grit and pumice or perlite. Sources say to avoid the use of peat or other humus sources. GEEZ!
Water: Average during the summer, barely in winter.


Mammillaria decipiens on 3-21-18, #419-10.

Information online says this cactus is a freely clustering species that builds up into a dense cluster of stems. It also says they do better than most species in lower levels of light but still prefers bright light or morning sun.


Mammillaria decipiens on 5-17-18, #443-59.

Once warmer temperatures came I moved the plants back outside. I had put the Mammillaria decipiens in a larger pot earlier since the sides were bulging.

Preferred soil for cactus can sometimes be hard to understand. Llifle says this species “likes very porous mineral substratum and avoid the use of peat or other humus sources in the potting mixture.” GEEZ! What is that supposed to mean? Try finding potting soil without peat… My cactus potting mix consists of 2 parts potting soil amended with 1 part chicken grit and 1 part perlite. Most cactus collectors now recommend using pumice instead of perlite now, which isn’t available at any of the local garden centers.


Mammillaria decipiens with buds on 6-24-18, #463-5.

I was happy to see buds on the Mammillaria decipiens on June 24. I was even happier when I saw they weren’t going to be pink. 🙂


Mammillaria decipiens on 6-28-18, #465-13.


Mammillaria decipiens on 6-28-18, #465-14.


Mammillaria decipiens on 6-28-18, #465-15.


Mammillaria decipiens on 6-28-18, #465-16.

The flowers close up in the late afternoon/early evening and kind of look like little tulips.


Mammillaria decipiens on 7-30-18, #488-14.

The Mammillaria decipiens has certainly been strutting its stuff with all the flowers. I am glad the flowers aren’t pink…

Since I just bought this cactus I don’t have any experience to share. The Llifle website (see link below) has a lot of useful information if you would like to know more. I will continue adding more photos and information as time goes by.

I hope you enjoyed this page and maybe found it useful. If you have any comments, questions or suggestions, I would like to hear from you. Please click on “like” if you visited this page. It helps us bloggers stay motivated. 🙂 You can check out the links below for further reading. The links take you directly to the genus and species of this plant.


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