AZ Arboretums

Mammillaria microcarpa

Fishhook cactus

Common: Fishhook cactus, Pincushion cactus, Sunset cactus
Family: Cactaceae
Origin: Western Texas, southern New Mexico and Arizona to the states of Chihuahua and Sonora in Mexico. Habitat is dry, gravely desert slopes, often under bushes below 4,500 feet.
Light: Needs strong sun
Soil: Best with good drainage

Low and cylindrical, growing to less than 4 inches in cultivation. Solitary stem. Many hooked spines.

Propagation by seed is slow, so is often grafted onto other stock.

Dark grayish-green stem, 2-1/4 in diameter, covered with radial spines 3/16 to 3/8 inches long. Rubercles conical or slightly oval. Axils lack hairs and bristles. 20 to 30 spines on each areole, slender and white or yellow with brown tips.

Flowers are pink with darker median line, and measure about 1-1/2 inches across. Bright, composed of many petals. Blooms April and May.

In natural habitat may reach 6-1/4 inches.

One or two local varieties in Arizona that have golden-yellow central spines, or brown hooked spines. Not to be confused with the fishhook barrel cactus of the Chihuahuan Desert.