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Mammillaria heyderi (Little nipple cactus)
Bransford, W.D. and Dolphia

Mammillaria heyderi

Mammillaria heyderi Muehlenpf.

Little Nipple Cactus, Heyder Pincushion Cactus

Cactaceae (Cactus Family)


USDA Symbol: MAHE2

USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

Solitary, globular cactus, up to 4-6 inches in diameter with milky sap; stem solitary, noticeably sunken on top, wider than tall; axils initially woolly; flowers mostly cream, forming a circle around stem below the apex. The flowers are cream to salmon colored and the fruits bright red but quite small.

Little Nipple Cactus is a very short cactus that can be difficult to spot in the winter when it is nearly below ground level and may be partially covered in gravel. In the spring and summer, it is usually above surrounding ground and more visible. It is found on dry hillsides in lower to middle elevations, Chihuahuan desert scrub, Tamaulipan thorn scrub, and Edwards Plateau, usually limestone and alluvial substrates. Light shade in summer to full sun. Hardy at least to 10 F.


From the Image Gallery

8 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Cactus/Succulent
Fruit Type: Berry
Size Notes: Up to about 1 inch above ground level by 6 inches across.
Fruit: Red, fruits Aug - May.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White , Pink , Yellow
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May , Jun , Jul , Aug
Bloom Notes: Pink, yellow or cream, with a darker stripe underneath. Day-flowering.


USA: AZ , NM , OK , TX
Native Distribution: Southeast Arizona, much of New Mexico, south Texas (along the Rio Grande); also Colorado and Oklahoma.
Native Habitat: Scrubland, grassland, pinyon-juniper foothills.

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Dry
Drought Tolerance: High


Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Deer Resistant: High

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

NPSOT - Fredericksburg Chapter - Fredericksburg, TX

Wildflower Center Seed Bank

LBJWC-1006 Collected 2007-03-28 in Crockett County by Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

1 collection(s) available in the Wildflower Center Seed Bank


Bibref 1140 - Cacti (1991) Clive Innes and Charles Glass

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Web Reference

Webref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter
Webref 15 - The American Southwest (1994) John Crossley

Additional resources

USDA: Find Mammillaria heyderi in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Mammillaria heyderi in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Mammillaria heyderi


Record Modified: 2023-02-17
Research By: TWC Staff

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