Coryphantha macromeris


Echinocactus macromeris
Lepidocoryphantha macromeris


Coryphantha macromeris is native to Mexico Northeast, New Mexico and Texas where the plant grows in a wide range in the Chihuahuan Desert growing nearly in all substrates including nearly pure gypsum, gravelly soils, usually sandy alluvium or clay and can spread up to 1700 m of altitude.


Coryphantha macromeris is an uncommon cactus belonging to the Cactaceae botanical family. The plant forms low mats or hemispheric mounds to 100 cm diameter. The stem is heavily branched, hemispheric to cylindrical, up to 12 cm long, dark green in color made of very pronounced tubercles. The root is taproot, large and succulent. The 9-15 radial spines ranging from white to grey to brown are 25 mm long and arranged in the shape of a star. The 3-8 central spines are pale grey to black. The spines are slightly curved and often flexible. Blooming occurs during the spring and the blossoms are borne at the apex of the stem. The flowers are bright pink to magenta with darker mid stripes and paler margins and are very similar to those of Mammillaria wrightii. The fruits are dark green and ovoid.


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).

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