Mammillaria muehlenpfordtii (Syn. M. celsiana)-Golden Pincushion

Mammillaria muehlenpfordtii after I brought it home on 9-21-18, #510-10.

Golden Pincushion

Mammillaria muehlenpfordtii

mam-mil-ar-ee-uh  mew-len-?-?


Mammillaria celsiana

mam-mil-AR-ee-uh  SELS-ee-ay-nuh

Synonyms of Mammillaria muehlenpfordtiiCactus celsianus (Lem.) Kuntze, Cactus lanifer (Haw.) Kuntze, Cactus muehlenpfordtii (C.F.Först.) Kuntze, Cactus polycephalus (Muehlenpf.) Kuntze, Cactus schaeferi (Fennel) Kuntze, Mammillaria celsiana Lem., Mammillaria lanifera Haw., Mammillaria neopotosina R.T.Craig, Mammillaria neopotosina var. brevispina R.T.Craig, Mammillaria neopotosina var. hexispina F.Schmoll ex R.T.Craig, Mammillaria neopotosina var. longispina R.T.Craig, Mammillaria perringii Hildm. ex K.Schum., Mammillaria polycephala Muehlenpf., Mammillaria schaeferi Fennel, Mammillaria schaeferi var. longispina J.N.Haage, Neomammillaria celsiana (Lem.) Britton & Ros

This cactus was labeled Mammillaria celsiana but, according to Plants of the World Online by Kew and Llifle, Mammillaria celsiana is a synonym of Mammillaria muehlenpfordtii.

Mammillaria muehlenpfordtii C.F.Först. is the correct and accepted scientific name for this species of Mammillaria. It was named and described by Carl Friedrich Förster in Allgemeine Gartenzeitung in 1847.

The synonym, Mammillaria celsiana Lem. was named and described by Charles Antoine Lemaire in Cactearum Genera Nova Speciesque Novae in 1839.


Mammillaria muehlenpfordtii on 9-21-18, #510-12.

I bought this plant from Lowe’s on clearance on September 21, 2018. It was laying on the shelf, out of its pot with very little soil on it roots or in the pot. I picked up and looked at it and decided to give it a good home. It is kind of an interesting club-shape. The label says: 

“Mammillaria celsiana, native of Mexico (San Louis Potosi northwest to Oaxaca), is a globular cactus. Golden radial spines with long gold centrals and white woolly areoles. Rings of small carmine flowers in the spring. Protect from frost. Provide bright light; hardy to 35° F; to 7” tall. Water thoroughly when soil is dry.”

The plant was growing in a 4 oz. (2 1/2” diameter x 2 1/4” tall) pot. The plant measured approximately 3 1/4” tall x 2 1/8” wide without the spines. Since it is somewhat taller, it needs to be re-potted into a wider or heavier pot to keep it from falling over.


Mammillaria muehlenpfordtii on 9-21-18, #510-11.

Family: Cactaceae
Origin: Guanajuato, Querétaro and San Luis Potosí, Mexico
Zones: USDA Zones 9b-11 (25-40° F)
Size: About 4-6” or more tall x 2 3/4-6” diameter.
Light: Sun to part shade.
Soil: Very well-draining soil. Posing soil amended with additional grit and pumice or perlite.
Water: Average water needs during the summer, but do not overwater. Allow soil to dry between watering. Keep it dry during the winter months.


Mammillaria muehlenpfordtii from the top on 9-21-18, #510-13.

As you can see by the photos, Mammillaria muehlenpfordtii is a very spiny cactus. It usually has 4 central spines with 24 to 50 radial spines per well-covered areoles. This is another species that divides dichotomously where the single stem becomes two and so on. The axil (top of the plant) is kind of sunk in and the axil (around the apex) is wooly with lots of bristles…


Mammillaria muehlenpfordtii on 11-29-18, #534-20.

November 29 was a nice spring-like day, so I took the cactus to the back porch for a photo shoot. I was working on a post to show the difference between the cactus in my collection.


Mammillaria muehlenpfordtii scarred for life. Photo taken on 11-29-18, #534-21.

Sometimes when the “strawflowers” are hot glued to the cactus spines is comes off fairly easily. I have had several plants, like this one, where the glue is put on in a big glob and is stuck tight to the “skin”. I can’t see any selling point the growers are trying to make because anyone can clearly see the flowers are fake. This plant, like several others in my collection, is scarred for life. I always snip off the fake petals down to the glue, if possible, and give a gentle pull to see if the glue will come off easily. If not, I just leave it alone hoping time will allow it to come off. This plant was already scarred when I brought it home.


Mammillaria muehlenpfordtii close-up on 12-1-18, #535-16.

The Mammillaria muehlenpfordtii is well armored indeed with 24 to 50 thin radial spines and at least 4 (3-7) central spines. All but one of the central spines are very short while one is very long and points downward. The tubercles on this species do not contain latex. The areoles also have a tiny tuft of wool.



Mammillaria muehlenpfordtii on 6-22-19, #593-30.

Once the temperatures warmed up enough I put the potted plants outside for the summer. The Cactus were enjoying the sun when I took the above photo on June 22.

I was fairly busy during the summer so I didn’t take as many photos as usual. Despite a little neglect, they all did very well.


Mammillaria muehlenpfordtii at 3 3/4″ tall x 2 7/8″ wide on 10-11-19, #639-64.

I had to move the potted plants inside for the winter on October 11 because there was an “F” in the forecast. I always take photos of the potted plants when I bring them inside and measure the cactus and some of the succulents. The Mammillaria muehlenpfordtii measured 3 3/4″ tall x 2 7/8″ wide. It was 3 1/4″ tall x 2 1/8″ wide when I brought it home on September 21, 2018.

There were a few very tiny buds on this cactus when I brought it inside for the winter.


Mammillaria muehlenpfordtii from the top on 10-13-19, #641-2.

The top view is always interesting on cactus…


Mammillaria muehlenpfordtii on 10-19-19, #643-6.

The buds were getting larger when I took this photo on October 19. Then I didn’t take flowers after they opened for some reason…

As with all Mammillaria species, this one is easy to grow. Llifle (Encyclopedia of Living Forms) has a lot of useful information (see link below). It does mention that this species is rot prone so it must not be overwatered. Water thoroughly when the soil is dry and be sure to let it dry between watering. Keep it dry in the winter.

I will continue adding more photos and information as time goes by.

You can read my Cactus Talk & Update and Cactus & Succulent Tips to get my opinion about growing cactus and succulents.

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.