Coryphantha cornifera is a cactus with a flat, globose to cylindrical stem, dull olive-green in color, up to 5 inches tall and up to 6 inches in diameter . The 10 to 20 radial spines are pale whitish, yellow or horn-colored, sometimes darker tipped and up 1.5 cm long. The central spines are up to 3, dark brown, becoming grey from the base and usually about 1 cm long. The flowers are yellow, funnel-shaped and up to 7.5 cm.
Coryphantha prefers shady positions, beneath larger plants or partly covered by grass. It grows out in the open or under bushes. It also grows in pure gypsum and in gravelly soils.
It grows nearly in all substrates including nearly pure gypsum, gravelly soils, usually sandy alluvium or clay, especially in dry river lagoon areas, rarely crevices or steep slopes.
This is a beautiful specimen cactus for a large cactus or succulent garden. It can make an interesting plant for a large container and is a nice centerpiece for a warm, sunny courtyard. The plant does have a few spines so care should be taken in its location.