Scientific: Escobaria vivipara (Synonym: Coryphantha vivipara)
Common: Pincushion cactus, spinystar
Family: Cactaceae
Origin: Arid and semi-arid regions of western North America (Mexcio to Canada) at elevations above 2,500 feet and below 8,500 feet all the way east to western Minnesota.

Pronounciation: Es-co-BAR-ee-a vi-va-PAR-a

Hardiness zones
Sunset
8-13 (arid regions only)
USDA 4-9 (arid regions only)

Landscape Use: Diminuative textural accent, desert and cactus display gardens, container plant.

Form & Character: Small, rounded, clumping and spreading with age, stiff and pointed, yet non-threatening and unassuming except when in flower when it will grab your attention.

Growth Habit: Perennial cactus, small, stems rounded to 2 inches, basally branching with age to form clumps to 6 inches tall and with greater spread.

Foliage/texture: Dense array of spines at each aeroles, spines either hooked, curved, or straight, radial spines tend to be light colored (almost white) with dark tips; mediumc coarse texture.

Flowers & fruits: Terminal flowers are colored either pink, rose, or purple; fruits nondescript, indehiscent.

Seasonal color: None, except when briefly flowering during spring.

Temperature: Needs protection from western heat during summer in Phoenix, otherwise in other southwestern locations is fully tolerant.

Light: Full sun, but western afternoon shade is best in Phoenix.

Soil: A sandy, well-drained soil is best.

Watering: Apply only occasional supplemental water once established.

Pruning: None

Propagation: Seed, division of basal stem branches.

Disease and pests: Root rot in poorly drained soils

Additional comments: Overall, pincushion cactus is a diminuative and very small clumping cactus that is best used in close proximity to human traffic as it can otherwise become quickly lost as a visual landscape element. At its best, this is a great curiousity plant for terra cotta pot container culture.

Because of its wide geographic distribution, there are many different phenotypes across its range. Six varietal selections have been made because of this; four of these varietal selection are from the desert Southwest including Arizona.