Coryphantha vivipara (Nutt.) Britton & Rose - Spinystar


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Coryphantha vivipara - (image 1 of 4)



Family: Cactaceae


Also called Escobaria vivipara (Nutt.) Buxbaum.


Dry, grassy plains.




Western MN south to KS and OK, west to Alberta and AZ.


Perennial with cylindric, solitary or clumping stems to 30 cm. Tubercles elongate, to 20 mm; areoles slightly woolly; central spines usually 4, with 1 pointing down, 1-2 cm, red throughout or with white at the base; radial spines 12-20, 1 cm long, white; glochids lacking. Flowers magenta-pink, to 4 cm wide, on new growth; hypanthium funnelform. Fruit green, to 2.5 cm, thin-walled. Seeds brown, to 2 mm, wingless.     


Flowers May to August

Wetland indicator: Upland

This is really a western species that is represented by var. vivipara at the most eastern edge of its range in west-central MN. It is extremely cold hardy and is the only pink flowering cactus that I know of that naturally occurs as far north as Canada. This plant is one that I grew in southern NY and it managed to get through an entire winter outdoors and still manage to bloom in the spring. Unfortunately it eventually succumbed to wet weather. Attempting to grow this or other cacti so far north and east requires an extremely well-drained soil. Would probably do quite well in an unheated greenhouse. 


Gleason, Henry A. and A. Cronquist. 1991. Manual of Vascular Plants of Northeastern United States and Adjacent Canada. Second Ed.
The New York Botanical Garden. Bronx, NY




 Michael Hough 2010