Mammillaria Species

The Genus Mammillaria


The genus, Mammillaria Haw., was named and described by Adrian Hardy Haworth in Synopsis Plantarum Succulentarum in 1812. It is one of 144 currently accepted genera in the Cactaceae family. The family, Cactaceae Juss., was named and described by Antione Laurent de Jussieu in Genera Plantarum in 1789.

Some of the best, nicest, easiest to grow, and most collected cacti are in species, subspecies, varieties and cultivars in the Mammillaria genus. This has led to a lot of exploration, collecting and naming of hundreds of plants. The problem is, or was, that many of the already named species were given more names by other explorers.

When I first started blogging in 2013, I began using version 1 (2010) of The Plant List for plant name research. At that time, The Plant List named 176 accepted species plus 126 accepted infraspecific names. There were 497 synonyms of species rank plus another 129 infraspecific names. There were also a total of 430 unresolved names. When version 1.1 came out in September 2013, I had several name changes to make. The accepted species increased from 176 to 185 and infraspecific names decreased from 126 to 93. The list of synonyms of specific rank also decreased from 497 to 358. The infraspecific species synonyms changed from 129 to 161. Also, the list of unresolved names increased from 430 to 448.

The Plant List wasn’t updated since version 1.1 in 2013 and I was told by a member of Kew that it was no longer maintained. He gave me a link to their new website called Plants of the World Online. They are still uploading data and expect to be finished with that process in 2020. Of course, with new species being found and all the testing going on, the updating process will always be ongoing.

As I am updating the pages for the Mammillaria in my collection in December 2019, Plants of the World Online still lists 162 accepted species of Mammillaria. Of course, over time, that number will continue to change. It doesn’t list a total of infraspecific names or synonyms for the entire genus as The Plant List did, but you can click on each species to find that information.

I also use several other websites for plant name for cactus and author research including Llifle (Encyclopedia of Living Forms), CactusGuide by Daiv Freeman, Dave’s Garden and a few others. For author name research I use The International Plant Name Index through Plants of the World Online and Tropicos through The Plant List. I still refer to The Plant List even though it is no longer maintained. I do this to see progress.

The Llifle website is very good because not only are they pretty up to date, they have a lot of photos, descriptions, growing information etc. on many of the species they list. However, on the species list by genus, they list and give a count of all accepted names and synonyms together and say it is the number of accepted species… For example, on the Mammillaria page, it says there are a total of 1,465 names in the database of which 1,267 are accepted Mammillaria names. Under that list is gives 198 non-accepted names that have been moved to other genera. My question is, are the synonyms part of their total number of accepted names? It has to be because there are certainly NOT 1,267 accepted species and infraspecific names in the Mammillaria genus.

I am not complaining about the Llifle website, however, because it gives a wealth of information on most species not found all in one place on any other website. Plus, the photos are very helpful for positive ID.

There is the ongoing dilemma of the industry mislabeling plants and sites like Llifle and the CactusGuide are very useful tools to make a positive ID. If you are still confused, Daiv Freeman includes his email address and you can send photos and he will promptly reply. I have tried to correspond with “someone” on Llifle and have never received any replies… There are also several groups on Facebook with members that can help with ID.

The following Mammillaria pages are about my journey with the Mammillaria companions I have been blessed to know, There will be more to come.

The links below will provide you with additional information and there are other links on each page about their species. The links below will take you directly to information about the genus Mammillaria.

If you have any comments, questions or suggestions, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below. Please click on “like” below if you have visited this page. It helps us bloggers stay motivated. 🙂


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