Silver Cluster Cactus


Mammillaria prolifera is quite inconspicuous but has a very large extent of occurrence and is abundant. Although there are threats in places (habitat destruction through logging), they are not sufficient to warrant any concern.

The typical subspecies prolifera occurs throughout much of the Caribbean.

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Description: Mammillaria prolifera is a low growing cactus, commonly branching to form colonies often 6 dm in diameter.
Stems: The individual stems dark green, globose, cylindrical or club shaped to 9 cm high, 3 to 7 cm in diameter (6-7 cm in diameter in subsp. prolifera), of soft texture.
Tubercles: Cylindrical to conic, about 8 mm long, spreading, without latex, Axils of tubercles with several long, hair-like bristles.
Radial spines: 25-40, hair-like, often intergrading with the centrals, straight or twisted, white to yellow to brown, 3-12 mm long.
Central spines: 5 to 12, needle-like, puberulent, 4-9 mm long, much stouter than the radials, straight, white to yellow to reddish, with darker tips (Typcally yellow in subsp. prolifera).
Flowers: 10-18 mm long, borne in old axils but toward top of plant, small, yellowish white, cream or pinkish yellow. Inner perianth-segments erect, pale yellow, with brownish mid-rib, acute; filaments pale rose-coloured; anthers at first deflexed inward; style shorter than filaments; stigma-lobes 3, yellow.
Fruit: Crowned by persistent withering perianth, club shaped to cylindrical, somewhat curved, 1.5 to 2 cm long, scarlet.
Seeds: Black, pitted, a little depressed; aril white, triangular.


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