Epithelantha micromeris SB125 Arteagas Canyon, Saltillo,
The rather small flowers are often followed by attractive
which contrast nicely with the spines
globose cactus, erect,
unbranched or in small
clumps, not deep-seated in substrate,
appearing ashy grey and relatively rough in general aspect.
obovoidal, rarely cylindric, often flat-topped with a
depressed centre, 1-5(-9)cm tall and up to 2-4 (-7,5) cm in
diameter, occasionally more; surface completely obscured by
Tubercles: Numerous, not confluent into
ribs, hemispheric or short cylindric, very small, ca. 1-3
mm; arranged in tight spirals around the plant.
Areoles : Small at tips of tubercles, 1 mm long, nearly
circular, elliptic when distended by flower or fruit, slightly
woolly when young, copiously woolly only at
sexually mature stem
Spines: 20-35(-40) white to ashy grey 2-5 mm long,
appressed on sides of stems,
terete, slender, innocuous, in 1-3
superimposed series except for a longer (4-12 mm) and erect
adaxial tuft on the top,
sexually mature stem apex often greyish or purplish white,
frequently with brown bases, collectively
forming brown spots at
the centre of each spine cluster. Spine
the sides of stem 4-5(-7) mm
in diameter. Smooth or microscopically
roughened by break-up of
epidermis, not distinguishable as
distal portions of the longest spines are worn, leaving the
apex of the plant covered with short,
Diffuse (usually) or
tap-root (in some
diurnal, borne at
adaxial margins of spine clusters in the plant top. Only
partly opened just
distal portion visible, as they barely stick out above the
wool obscured by longer spines at stem
tepals entire or sparsely erose-fimbriate; Inner tepals 5-8
per flower, pink to white (rarely yellow), (1-)2-6(-9) × 3(-5)
hairs, and spines absent;
stigma lobes (2-)3-4(-6), white, to 1 mm.
Phenology: Flowering late winter-early spring (Feb-Apr)
Indehiscent, bright red, thin narrowly cylindric, 3-20 ×
2-3(-5) mm, weakly
succulent, soon drying and
spineless; pulp absent; floral remnant
deciduous. Fruiting late spring-early summer (Apr-Jun).
Blackish, obliquely hemispheric reticulated in 0,5 mm diameter.
NOTE: Epithelantha micromeris var. micromeris has some of
the smallest flowers among cactus species. Unlike other
taxa in this
genus, it is
Although generally resembling
Mammillaria and superficially similar to
DNA evidence indicates that Epithelantha is
taxonomically isolated and more closely related to
Ariocarpus than to Mammillaria.
SB256 SB256 Eddy co, NM. USA
SB125 Arteagas Canyon, Saltillo, Coahuila, Mexico
micromeris (Engelmann) F.A.C.
Weber ex Britt. & Rose 1922
Published in: Bois, Dict. Hort. 2. 804; et ex Britton & Rose, Cactac.
3. 93 (1922), 1898
Button Cactus, ping-pong ball cactus, Common button
Engelmann, Proc. Amer. Acad. Arts 3: 260. 1856 (as Mamillaria)
Epithelantha micromeris var. micromeris (Engelmann)
F.A.C. Weber ex Britt. & Rose 1922
Epithelantha micromeris var. rufispina
Epithelantha micromeris var. densispina
Cactus micromeris Kuntze 1891
Distribution: USA - Arizona (Santa Cruz and
Cochise County) New Mexico (Hildago and Sandoval Co, From Sierra and
Chaves to Eddy Co), western Texas. Mexico (northern Chihuahua).
taxa have relatively large flowers like those of E.
Habitat: Widespread in desert
woodlands from 500 to 1800m in
elevation. It grows on crevices, coarse gravel, cliffs, sedimentary
substrates on hills and ridges in
Desert; These cacti are normally found in small
clusters because the seeds fall nearby. Also wind, rain, and
wildlife help with the
dispersal of seeds.
Conservation status: Listed in
the Greek word “Epi”
meaning “upon, on, at,
over”; the Greek word “thele”
meaning “nipple” referring to the tubercles, and
describing flower position near tubercle apex, a reference to
the fact that the flowers doesn't originate between the nipple
as in the genus
(The genus name implies:
“flowers upon the tubercles”).
species name "micromeris" means: with
small parts or divisions.
Photo and ©
Mladen Turcinovic (Croatia)
E. micromeris BZ58 Huasteca Canyon, Nuevo León, Mexico
Although regarded as a choice and difficult plant, in
cultivation it is relatively easy. It needs a particularly
well-draining soil mix (rot prone). Water sparingly.
Depending on the variety, will handle -12° C (Temperature
Light shade to full sun
Photo of conspecific taxa,
varieties, forms an cultivars of Epithelantha micromeris: