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Nellie Cory Cactus
Scientific Name: Escobaria minima (Baird) D. R. Hunt
Synonym: Mammillaria nellieae, Coryphantha nellieae, Coryphantha minima, Escobaria nellieae
Family: Cactaceae
Listed in CITES Appendix 1
Nellie Cory Cactus (Escobaria  minima) Recommended Temperature Zone:
USDA: 9-11

Frost Tolerance: Hardy to 20°F (-7°C)

Minimum Avg. Temperature: 50°F (10°C)

Sun Exposure: Light shade

Origin: Chihuahuan desert in the USA, they are found from only three populations, all in a tiny area of Brewster County, Texas

Growth Habits: Generally solitary, dark green stem, 0.5 to 1.1 inch long (12-27 mm), 0.25 to 0.7 inch wide (6-17 mm) in the wild, larger in cultivation; occasionally a short tap root; tubercles 2 to 4 mm wide; 1 to 4 central spines, 4 to 6 mm long; 13 to 23 radials, 3.5 to 5 mm long/

Watering Needs: Needs good drainage.

Propagation: Seeds, cuttings, grafting


This species is protected in Texas.

"Escobaria minima grows in desert grassland and is restricted to the Caballos Novaculite Formation. The Nellie Cory cactus is usually found growing among the chips of weathered and physically fractured novaculite, often in association with a spikemoss (Selaginella sp.). The cactus’ edaphic requirements are poorly understood. There is a need to determine these requirements to understand factors restricting its distribution, since it is only found on two novaculite ridges. The Nellie Cory cactus grows at an elevation of 1,200-1,350 m. The average annual precipitation is approximately 41.0 cm" U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Escobaria minima, picture by Gordon Smith

Blooming Habits:
The pink flowers are up to 1 inch in diameter (2.5 cm), 0.6 inch long (1.5 cm) in several flushes during the summer. The fruit is ovoid, green, 0.6 to 2 inches long (1.5-5 cm)

Fruiting Habits:

Check for Field Collection numbers at Ralph Martin's Site


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