Coryphantha cornifera


Cactus cornifer
Cactus pfeifferianus
Cactus radians
Cactus scolymoides
Coryphantha bernalensis
Coryphantha cornifera var. scolymoides
Coryphantha cornuta
Coryphantha daimonoceras
Coryphantha impexicoma
Coryphantha maliterrarum
Coryphantha radians
Coryphantha schwarziana
Coryphantha scolymoides
Echinocactus cornifer
Echinocactus radicans
Mammillaria cornifera
Mammillaria cornuta
Mammillaria daemonoceras
Mammillaria daimonoceras
Mammillaria impexicoma
Mammillaria pfeifferiana
Mammillaria radians
Mammillaria scolymoides


Coryphantha cornifera is native to Mexico Central, Mexico Gulf, Mexico Northeast, Mexico Southwest where the plant grows on limestone gravel on low hills and plain.


Coryphantha cornifera is an uncommon cactus belonging to the Cactaceae botanical family. The plant is solitary and can reach up to 15 cm in diameter and 12 cm in height. The stem is heavily branched, globose to cylindrical, dark green in color, depressed at the apex, made of 5-8 tubercles. The tubercles are conical, spirally arranged. The roots are fibrous, large and succulent. The 10-20 radial spines yellowish with darker tips are 1 cm long, radiating, straight and needle-like. The 0-3 central spines are dark brown, straight or curved downward and up to 1,8 cm long. Blooming occurs during the spring and the blossoms are borne at the apex of the stem. The flowers are large, showy, 7 cm wide, funnel-shaped, creamy yellow, sometimes red, with yellow stamens. The fruits are green and juicy containing brown seeds.


The plant has a slow growth rate but it is easy to cultivate. The best sun-exposure is in bright place but is recommended to avoid direct sun-light in the hottest periods. Long exposure to direct sun-light can cause burns and burnt spots. The maximum resistance to cold is 5 °C so it is recommended not to expose the plant to lower temperatures. Too low temperatures can cause the stem or leaves to break due to water freezing inside the tissues. Temperatures between 10 and 15 °C allow the plants to enter vegetative rest which is essential for the flowering of the following year. Plants should not be placed inside the house where average temperatures of 20 degrees prevent vegetative rest. The soil should be mixed with pumice, clay and loam to allow the drainage and prevent the root rot, the plant is prone to it indeed. The pumice should always be placed on the bottom of the pot. Remember to use a perforating pot to drain excess water. Watering can be done regularly during the vegetative period. During the vegetative period you can water the plant every 5 days with half a glass of water, checking that the soil is completely dry before watering again; in winter you should stop the watering to allow the plant to enter dormancy. Decrease the amount of water if the plant is kept indoors or if the pot is smaller than 12 cm. The plant is used to growing in poor soils, for this reason it does not need abundant fertilization, it is sufficient to fertilize once in spring and once in summer. If the pot starts to be too small for the plant you can repot the plant in a pot 2 cm wider. Repotting should be done early in the growing season with fresh new potting soil; it is usually done every 3-4 years. Be careful to red spiders and mealy bugs.


Propagation can be done by cutting or by seed. By cutting you can use the offsets during the spring. Cut an offset and then let it dry; after a few days the cut surface will dry and a callus will form, then place the cutting in a mixture of sand, soil and pumice. To increase the success of propagation you can make two or more cuttings at the same time. It is advisable to use rooting hormone at the base of the cut to energize root development. For cuttings it is recommended temperatures around 20 °C. By seed it is very simple to propagate the plant, it is enough to sow the seed in a sandy loam and keep it with a high level of humidity and at temperature of 14 C°.


This is a genus with a globular shape, stands out from other similar genres for the position of the flowers that grow exactly on the top of the plant. Its name has in fact this meaning: it comes from Greek koryphé (peak) and Anthos (flower). The specific epithet refers to the long central spines.

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