Singapore Government Logo

A Singapore Government Agency Website


Mammillaria vetula subsp. gracilis

Family Name: Cactaceae
Synonyms: Mammillaria gracilis 'Pulchella'
Common Name: Thimble Cactus
Full Sun Little Water Moderate Water Ornamental Flowers Drought Tolerant Shrub


Family Name
Genus Epithet
Species Epithet
Infraspecific Epithet
Common Names

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Division Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants)
Plant Growth Form Shrub
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic
Maximum Height 13 cm
Maximum Plant Spread / Crown Width 1 cm to 3 cm


Native Distribution Mexico
Native Habitat Terrestrial (Desert / Semi-Desert)
Preferred Climate Zone Desert / Arid
Local Conservation Status Exotic (Horticultural / Cultivated Only)
CITES Protection True

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form This cactus forms tight clumps of cylindrical stems.
Foliage This species lacks leaves.
Stems Stems are cylindrical (13 cm long, 1-3 cm wide) with rounded tips. The stem is covered in oval-shaped tubercles (small mound-like projections). Each tubercle bears 11-16 white, stiff radial spines (3-8 mm long) and 0-5 white or dark brown central spines (10-12 mm long). Central spines are stronger than the radial spines and more abundant on mature plants.
Flowers Small, light yellow flowers are funnel-shaped (1.2 cm long, 1.2 cm wide). Petals have a pinkish to brownish longitudinal stripe down the middle.
Fruits Fruits are red to pinkish white.
Cultivation This species requires well-drained soil.

Landscaping Features

Desirable Plant Features Ornamental Flowers, Ornamental Stems, Ornamental Form
Plant & Rootzone Preference - Tolerance Dry Soils / Drought, Well-Drained Soils
Landscape Uses Container Planting
Thematic Landscaping Rockery / Desert Garden
Usage Hazard - Cons Spines/Thorns - Stem/Branch

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Full Sun
Water Preference Moderate Water, Little Water
Propagation Method Sucker


Foliar Modification Reduced / Needle-like

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower & Plant Sexuality 1 Bisexual Flowers
Flower Colour(s) Yellow / Golden
Flower Location Terminal
Flower Symmetry Radial
Individual Flower Shape Funnelform / Funnel-shaped
Flower Colour(s) Remarks Light Yellow

Fruit, Seed and Spore

Mature Fruit Colour(s) - Angiosperms and Gymnosperms Red

Image Repository



Master ID 31825
Species ID 6225
Flora Disclaimer The information in this website has been compiled from reliable sources, such as reference works on medicinal plants. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment and NParks does not purport to provide any medical advice. Readers should always consult his/her physician before using or consuming a plant for medicinal purposes.
Species record last updated on: 20 August 2021.