When I purchased one of my cacti in mid-December (not identified yet), I noticed that it had some buds on its sides. I've never seen cactus flowers or buds, but that's what they seemed to be, instinctively. I left for a holiday soon after, and when I returned in January, some of the buds had shrivelled and retracted, while some were still poking out.

To this day, some of these growths are still hanging on the plants, but I've never seen any flowers on it.

What are these growths?


The plant in mid-December


The plant in February

  • 1
    Cactus flowers are both fickle and quick. If the buds seem mature, try looking at the cactus at night, many bloom only in the dark.
    – J.P.M.
    Feb 14, 2017 at 20:57
  • Interesting. For now the buds are still pretty retracted, so I suppose they're on the way out. I'll keep an eye on them.
    – kettlepot
    Feb 14, 2017 at 21:00
  • It looks like a mammillaria. See upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/67/…
    – Augustin
    Feb 14, 2017 at 21:33

1 Answer 1


I think it might be Mammalaria karwinskiana, image showing flowers here http://www.cactiguide.com/graphics/m_karwinskiana_f_600.jpg

Its quite a variable one, so although the image included shows the likeliest form the flowers will take, the same name seems to be used for other cactus that look just slightly different and may have different coloured flowers. I'd guess it will flower, when its ready - its likely some of the buds shrivelled due to transition shock from being transported and set up in a different situation. It looks generally healthy, so I think its just a question of time. More examples of this plant (along with a plethora of alternative names) here http://www.cactiguide.com/cactus/?genus=mammillaria&species=karwinskiana

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