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  Coryphantha cornifera / radians
(Syn: Coryphantha radians)

Cultivation and Mail Sale
of Cacti and Succulents.

Coryphantha cornifera SB44 Ixmilquilpan Hidalgo (Mexico)
This species is one of those Coryphanthas which pass a purely radial-spined youth stage in which they are already floriferous.  Most of the plants develop the central spines only at the age of  7 to 15 years.

Mature Coryphantha cornifera are dimorphic with respect to presence/absence of porrect central spines.

Cultivation: In culture C. cornifera is without problems, and regularly shows its large yellow flowers. It does best in slight shade, but does well in full sun too. It is sensitive to overwatering (rot prone), and needs a very porous soil with good drainage.  It flowers quite early, but needs about 8-12 years to reach the typical, definite outlook. It tolerates fairly low temperatures as long as it is kept dry (hardy to -5° C or less for short periods of time).

Propagation: Propagation is by seed.


Photo of conspecific taxa, varieties and cultivars of plants belonging to the cornifera /radians complex (This Taxon has lots of synonyms, with several controversial varieties and subspecies):



Photo gallery: Alphabetical listing of Cactus and Succulent pictures published in this site.

Photo gallery coryphantha



Family: Cactaceae (Cactus Family)

Scientific name:  Coryphantha cornifera (De Candolle) Lemaire
Cactéè, 35, 1868

Basionym: Mammillaria cornifera
De Candolle
Mém. Mus. Hist. Nat. Paris, 17, 112 1828

Origin:  The main distribution is in the Mexican states of Querétaro and Hidalgo, south to the Valle de Mexico,   north to Guanajuato and sporadically in San Luis Potosí.

Habitat:  Limestone gravel on low hills and plain.

Conservation status: Listed in CITES appendix 2.

Common Names include: Sea-urchin cactus, rhinoceros cactus, Prickly Beehive Cactus

Coryphantha cornifera /radians complex:

Coryphantha cornifera is thought to be the taxon classified in 1828 by de Candolle as Mammillaria radians, but this is unclear, partly because of various name changes over the years. However the range of both Coryphantha radians and Coryphantha cornifera is identical, and at most locations adult plants, either without central spines ("radians"), or with 1-4 central spines ("cornifera") can be found. The arrangement of the central spines is variable.  With the exception of the absence or existence of centrals, all the other characteristics are absolutely identical, namely size and form of tubercles, number, size and arrangement of radial spines, flowers, fruits and seeds. Furthermore this species is one of those Coryphanthas which pass a purely radial-spined long youth stage in which they are already floriferous. Most of the  plants after several years develop the  central spines, giving the plant its sea urchin appearance.


  • Coryphantha radians (De Candolle) Britton & Rose
    Cactaceae, 4 : 36, 1923
  • Mammillaria radians De Candolle
    In :Mém. Mus. Hist. Nat. Paris, 17, 111 1828
  • Aulacothele radians (De candolle ) Monville
    Cat. Pl. Exot., 21, 1846
  • Aulacothele cornifera (De candolle) Molville
    Cat. Pl. Exot., 21, 1846
  • Mammillaria pfeifferiana De Vriese
    Tydschr. Nat. Geschr. 6: 51, 1839.
  • Echinocactus radians (De Candolle) Poselger
    Allg. Gartenz. 21 : 107, 1853
  • Echinocactus corniferus (De Candolle) Posselger
    Allg. Gartenz. 21 : 102, 1853
  • Cactus radians (De candolle) Kuntze
    Rev. Gen. Pl. 1 :261, 1891
  • Mammillaria cornifera (De Candolle) Lemaire
    In : Cactée 35, 1868
  • Coryphantha cornuta
  • Coryphantha schwartziana
  • Coryphantha maliterrarum
  • Coryphantha bernalensis

Description: This is a very variable species, normally solitary, rarely sprouting.
Stem:  Flat globose to cylindrical, up to 8-15 cm in diameter, 6-12 cm tall, dull olive-green, apex depressed, with a blunt, depressed apex covered with e wool.
Tubercles: Tubercles are spirally arranged in
series of 5 and 8. Conical, rhomboid at the base, obliquely cut, grooved above; on new growth the groove may show some felt. Basal diameter 12-16 mm, 8-14 mm tall. Axil at first woolly, then naked.
Areoles: Oval, 3mm long, 2,5 mm wide (when central spines absent), round 2 mm Ø (when central spine present)
Radial spines: 10 to 20 fairly stout, pale whitish, yellow or horn-coluoured, sometimes darker tipped, 0.9-1.6 cm long, horizontal, irregularly radiating, interwoven, needle-like, straight or slightly curved; in youth pectinate.  Occasionally 3-4 thinner spines, more densely set.
Central spines:
0 or 1( to 3), dark brown, becoming grey from the base, subulate. The dominant central is straight, porrect, or curved downward, usually about 1 cm long, but it may be longer on older plants (up to 1,8 cm); the other two protruding laterally, and curved.
Fibrous root or semi-taproot.
Flowers: Very big, 5-7 cm wide, yellow (occasionally red), funnel shaped, 6-7 cm. The linear segments are lemon-yellow, sometimes red at the base. Filaments reddish to reddish-yellow. Anthers yellow, stigma pale yellow, stigma lobes whitish.
Fruit: Green, juicy with attached flower remnants, 20-25 mm long, 10 mm wide.
Seed:  Reniform
(kidney-shaped), brown, 1,3 mm long.



Coryphantha radians REP37 Locality: Colon, Querétaro, Mexico 2000m


Home | E-mail | Plant files | Mail Sale Catalogue | Links | Information | Search

All the information and photos in cactus art file are now available also in the new the Enciclopedia of Cacti. We hope you find this new site informative and useful.