Mammillaria mystax

Mammillaria mystax after I bought it home on 9-21-18, #510-14.

Mammillaria mystax

mam-mil-AR-ee-uh  MY-staks

Mammillaria mystax Mart. is the correct and accepted name for this species. It was named and described by Carl (Karl) Friedrich Philipp von Martius in Hortus Regius Monacensis in 1829.


Mammillaria mystax on 9-21-18, #510-15.

I bought this plant from Lowe’s on clearance on September 21, 2018. The Mammillaria mystax is another Owl’s Eye Cactus that divides dichotomically. The label says: 

“A globular cactus, usually solitary and growing to 6” height and sometimes to 8” in diameter. Spine color is highly variable with whitish wool and bristles at axils. Rings of reddish-violet flowers appear in April and May. Native of Oaxaca, Mexico. Protect from frost. Provide bright light/sun; hardy to 20° F. 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 1 3/4” tall x 2 1/4” wide without the spines.


Mammillaria mystax from the top on 9-21-18, #510-16.

Family: Cactaceae
Origin: South Central Mexico
Zones: USDA Zones 9a-11 (20-40° F)
*Size: Different websites have different information.
Light: Sun to part shade
Soil: Very well-draining. Potting soil amended with additional grit and pumice or perlite.
Water: Regular watering during the summer and barely to none during the winter.

*Information online says anywhere from 6-12″ tall.


Mammillaria mystax on 10-10-18, #519-48.

I had to move the potted plants inside for the winter on October 10 because the forecast was calling for an “F” in a few days and the nighttime temperatures were getting cooler. I usually measure the cactus and succulents when I bring them inside, but I didn’t measure this one because I measured it when I brought it home in September.


Mammillaria mystax on 11-29-18, #535-22.

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 mystax close-up on 12-1-18, #535-17.

Mammillaria mystax can have 3 to 10 radial spines and 1 to 4 central spines. Central spines are normally twice the length as radials, of which one is very long. Llifle says the tubercles are “full of milk which freely flows if pricked or cut.” Weird the description on llifle says “milk” instead of latex. Hmmm… Notice the “hair” between the tubercles… I think the hair is called trichomes.

Mammillaria mystax is a neat small cactus with very pronounced tubercles. In the wild, it produces very long entangled spines on its crown up to 2 1/2″ long. This species also divides dichotomically which means the stem divides to become two. It will produce a ring of rose flowers with brown mid-veins, up to 3 rows, February through April. The top areoles are wool-covered but seem to disappear with age.

I will continue adding more photos and information as time goes by. Be sure to click on the link to Llifle below for further reading.

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.