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Button Cactus
Scientific Name: Epithelantha micromeris (Engelmann) Weber
Synonym: Epithelantha rufispina, Epithelantha micromeris var. rufispina, Epithelantha micromeris var. densispina, Epithelantha densispina, Mammillaria micromeris, Cactus micromeris
Family: Cactaceae
Button Cactus (Epithelantha  micromeris) Recommended Temperature Zone:
USDA: 8b-11

Frost Tolerance: Depending on the variety, will take 10 F (-12 C)

Minimum Avg. Temperature: 50F (10C)

Sun Exposure: Light shade to full sun

Origin: USA (Arizona: Santa Cruz and Cochise County, New Mexico, western Texas), Mexico (northern Chihuahua). In desert and grasslands from 3000 to 4500ft (1000 to 1500m) of elevation

Growth Habits: Often clumping, globose stems up to 1 inch in diameter (2.5 cm), occasionally more; small tubercles, 1 mm long; small areoles, slightly woolly when young; 20 or more white spines, 2 mm long, longer on the top.

Watering Needs: Moderate water. The Button Cactus needs a soil mix draining particularly well, since it needs a deeper pot due to its tap root.

Propagation: Seeds, offsets


The Epithelantha contains hallucinogenic alkaloids. The name comes from the Greek for "flower at the top of the nipple", a reference to the fact that the flowers doesn't originate between the nipple as in the genus Mammillaria. The variety greggii originates from Coahuila in Mexico. The second pictures shows a form with a well developed central spine.

Button Cactus (Epithelantha  micromeris)

Blooming Habits:
The Button Cactus has 0.2 inch long (5 mm), 0.16 inch wide (4 mm) pale pink flowers that appear in May-June at the apex of the plant. They only partly opens, as they barely stick out above the wool an spines at the top of the plant. They are followed by thin red fruit, 0.3 to 0.5 inch long (8-12 mm).

Fruiting Habits:

Check for Field Collection numbers at Ralph Martin's Site


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Desert-Tropicals is dedicated to provide gardening advice, gardening ideas, and information about flower of all kind for landscape and collections. We try to check carefully the identification of the plants on the illustrations as well as the other information from the page, but occasionally errors do occur. if you notice anything that needs to be changed please contact us. Thanks.

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