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Epithelantha micromeris1000.jpg
Epithelantha micromeris
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Order: Caryophyllales
Family: Cactaceae
Subfamily: Cactoideae
Tribe: Cacteae
Genus: Epithelantha
F.A.C.Weber ex Britton & Rose
Type species
Epithelantha micromeris

Epithelantha (button cactus) is a genus of cactus that is native to north-eastern Mexico, and the south-western United States from western Texas to Arizona. There are eight species recognised in the genus Epithelantha. The name Epithelantha refers to the flower position near the apex of the tubercles.[1]


Epithelantha are very small cacti with globe-shaped or cylindrical stems typically up to one inch in diameter, rarely reaching two inches long. Tiny whitish spines completely cover the surface of the stem. The flowers are also tiny, growing from the tip of the stem. Fruits are bright red.[2]

The fruit of all species is said to be edible.[citation needed]


As of January 2021, Plants of the World Online accepted eight species:[3]

Image Scientific name Distribution
Epithelantha bokei 1.jpg Epithelantha bokei L.D.Benson Texas in the United States and Coahuila in Mexico
Epithelantha cryptica D.Donati & Zanov. Mexico (Coahuila)
Epithelantha greggii (Engelm.) Orcutt Mexico (Coahuila)
Epithelantha ilariae D.Donati & Zanov. Mexico (Nuevo León)
Epithelantha.jpg Epithelantha micromeris (Engelm.) F.A.C.Weber ex Britton & Rose United States in Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas, and in Mexico in the states of Chihuahua, Coahuila, Durango, Nuevo León, San Luis Potosí and Zacatecas[citation needed]
Epithelantha pachyrhiza (W.T.Marshall) Backeb. Mexico (Coahuila)
Epithelantha polycephala Backeb. Mexico (Coahuila)
Epithelantha spinosior C.Schmoll Mexico (Coahuila, Nuevo León)


  1. ^ A. Michael Powell; James F. Weedin (15 November 2004). Cacti of the Trans-Pecos and Adjacent Areas. Texas Tech University Press. p. 364. ISBN 978-0-89672-531-7. Retrieved 5 September 2012.
  2. ^ "Cactuses of Big Bend National Park". University of Texas Press. Retrieved 5 September 2012.
  3. ^ "Epithelantha F.A.C.Weber ex Britton & Rose". Plants of the World Online. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Retrieved 2021-01-07.