Family: Cactaceae
Habitat: in the North of Mexico and in the South of United States
Cultivation: it is a slow-growing cactus that only requires half (or full sun, if the room is well ventilated), frequent watering but light, at a temperature of about 5° and never below. Among the pests, it fears the red spider mites.
Curiosity: it is a cactus 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 genre Coryphantha includes a number of cacti with globular form, which becomes columnar with the increasing of the plant age . The stem has not ribs, but rather a series of tubercles alternating or arranged in a spiral. Thorns, very numerous, start from the center of each tubercle. They have a medium or small size and rarely reach the height of over 40 cm. The Coryphantha have a thick root taproot and are very similar, aesthetically, to the plants of Mammillaria genre. However, what distinguishes them, it is the flower, and especially the position in which flourishes: the Coryphantha produce a large flower that is located exactly on top of the stem while in Mammillaria the flowers sprout little below the top, in the ring of growth which corresponds to the year preceding the one of flowering. The colors of the flower are very bright, yellow or orange. Usually each drum has got a single flower, more rarely they can have two or more.


The cacti of coryphanta genre are found in many varieties. We will mention some of those that you can also find in our online shop of succulents:

Coryphantha cornifera: in this variety the light-colored thorns grow in a particular location, radiating respect to its own center, and almost parallel respect to the stem of the plant, so that they almost seem to enclose the plant at its center. To these it is possible to add darker and bigger thorns, which only depart from the upper tubercles of the plant, one for each tubercle, well straight towards the outside of the plant.

Coryphantha palmeri: small, the flower has got white long petals and yellow central stamens so that overall, it vaguely recalls of a daisy.

Coryphantha runyonii: in this variety the tubercles are very pronounced and can swell and stretch each in very different ways, giving the plant a bizarre and erratic look.

This, however, is the complete list:

  • C. borwigii
  • C. bumamma
  • C. cornifera / radians
  • C. difficilis
  • C. echinoidea
  • C. echinos
  • C. elephantidens
  • C. elephantidens “TANSI ZOUGEMARU”
  • C. gladiispina
  • C. laui
  • C. longicornis (‘grandis’ form)
  • C. macromeris
  • C. magentae
  • C. maiz-tablasensis
  • C. odorata (Cumarinia)
  • C. poselgeriana var. valid
  • C. pseudonickelsae
  • C. retusa
  • C. salinensis
  • C. salm-dyckiana
  • C. scheeri var. robustispina
  • C. sulcolanata
  • C. tripugionacantha
  • C. werdermannii


  • The cultivation of Coryphantha cacti doesn’t generally present particular difficulty compared to other varieties of cactus. The growth is slow, but to have healthy plants and beautiful blooms it is necessary to follow few precautions: 
  • The best exposure, for coryphantha, is half sun, since these plants are afraid of direct rays of the summer sun. Plants already adult (with at least two years of age) may also be placed in full sun, as long as they are in a ventilated space. 
  • The temperature must be above 5 ° C. It is important, however, that during the winter it is quite cool: it will be useful for a good vernalization, that will ensure the most luxuriant blooms in spring. As all the cacti, the greatest danger comes from standing water: to avoid it , we advise frequent watering (every 2-3 days) but very light in spring and summer to let the ground dry out completely between the waterings. In autumn the watering can be reduced up to be totally suspended in correspondence with vernalization. The soil should be the one designed for cacti: a mix of fertilized soil, sand and gravel can be a good alternative. 
  • The fertilizer can be done once every 15 days during the spring and summer with a specific product for cacti. These plants, as mentioned, have a rather slow growth may be repotted once every three years, taking special care not to damage the taproot. The globular shape of these plants makes difficult (if not impossible) the reproduction by cuttings.
  • So it is used the seed, which has to be buried in a mixture of very light soil to keep constantly moist in the shade and with a temperature above 20 ° C. Some species produce suckers at their base that can be picked up and used for reproduction, with less time than that required using the seed.

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