Fall 2020 Update Part 5: The Mammillaria Group

Part of the cactus collection in front of the sliding door in the dining room on 11-1-20, #754-6.

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you well. This post is about the Mammillaria species in my small collection of cactus. Mammillaria species come in all shapes and sizes and are very easy to grow and some flower off and on throughout the year. I took most of the photos in this post on October 15 as I was bringing the plants inside, but I had to take a few more on November 1 and 6… The longer it takes to finish this post the more photos I will probably take because of the flowers…

Plants of the World Online currently lists 164 species in the Mammillaria genus, which is up two from my last update. Although The Plant List is no longer maintained, even though it is still online and viewable, listed 185 accepted species, 93 accepted infraspecific names (varieties and subspecies), a total of 519 synonyms, and 448 unresolved names. So many species were given a multiple of scientific names over the years and it was quite an undertaking to resolve the issue. It will no doubt be a continual work in progress, even as new species are added. The Mammillaria genus alone has 20 synonyms… That is 20 previous genera whose species have been transferred to Mammillaria or attempts made to relocate them.

So, why do I like Mammillaria species? For one, there are a lot to choose from, they are easy to grow, they come in a wide variety of sizes and shapes, many freely flower, and some are just downright weird. All Mammillaria have one particular thing in common that makes them stand out. They have pronounced tubercles arranged in a particular manner, kind of looks like they are spiraling upward… If you have a cactus with pronounced tubercles, it is very likely a Mammillaria.

If you want further information about any of the Mammillaria in this post, or to see more photos, click on their name under the photos in green. That will take you to their own page.

Here we go…

<<<<Mammillaria decipiens (subsp. camptotricha)>>>>

Mammillaria decipiens (subsp. camptotricha)(Bird’s Nest Pincushion) at 1 3/4″ tall x 4 1/4″ wide on 10-15-20, #747-64.

I brought this AWESOME Mammillaria decipiens subsp. camptotricha (Bird’s Nest Pincushion) home from Wal-Mart in March 2018 because it was weird and I didn’t have one. It has done very well over the summer and the tallest plant in the pot was 1 3/4″ tall and the cluster measured 4 1/4″ wide on October 15. Like all cactus, they swell and shrink as water is available. I watered the cactus the day before I brought them inside because I thought they would swell somewhat before I took measurements. Apparently, I should have done it several days before that… Sunday, as I was taking photos of few of the Mammillaria with flowers, I noticed the biggest one in this pot looked bigger than before. SO, I went and got the tape measure and it was 2″ tall! GEEZ! That’s 1/4″ taller than it was on the 15th!

That isn’t the first time that happened. When I was writing the post Cactus Talk & Update… OUCH! in December 2018 several had done that. They hadn’t been watered since October but they were swelled up.

Getting back to the Mammillaria decipiens… It was cramped up in a 2 3/4″ diameter pot when I brought it home and the cluster of plants was 1 1/2″ tall x 3″ wide. The pot was literally bulging and the plants were hanging out over the top somewhat.

After doing a little research, I found out this cactus was a subspecies called Mammillaria decipiens subsp. camptotricha. The species has 5-11 radial spines per tubercle that are a whitish color and the spines are shorter. The subspecies have 4-5 radial spines per tubercle that are longer and bristly… Describes the one I brought home perfectly. BUT, “those in charge” have decided the subspecies is a synonym of the species. HOWEVER… Since the subspecies name was validly published in 1997, I can go ahead and use it if I choose. 🙂

This species got around A LOT and has 19 synonyms covering seven genera…

<<<<Mammillaria elongata>>>>

Mammillaria elongata (Ladyfinger Cactus) at 6 1/8″ long/tall x 7″ wide on 10-15-20, #747-66.

Hmmm… As you can tell, the Mammillaria elongata (Lady Finger Cactus) is doing well. This has been an interesting cactus and I have had no issues with it. We got off to a rocky start but that was my fault. This plant, or cluster of plants, was stuffed into a small pot which I accidentally knocked off on the floor a few days after I brought it home in March 2018. Of course, most of the offsets fell off. I stuck them back in the small pot the best I could at the time. It had no side effects and didn’t even get upset. To say this species freely offsets would be an understatement. Even the kids have kids…

On October 15 when I brought the plants inside, the longest or tallest, umm… The main stem in the center, the mother plant, measured 6 1/8″ long, or tall, whichever you prefer. The entire cluster was 7″ wide. After I remeasured the Mammillaris decipiens I wondered about this plant. In fact, last year it was over an inch longer in November than it was in October, up to 7 3/8″! This time it is 6 1/8″ long??? I remeasured it again when I was putting the measurements on the journal and it definitely was 6 1/8″. So, for the heck of it, I remeasured it AGAIN as I am writing this post. Hmmm… 7 3/4″!!! Believe it or not, I do know how to use a tape measure and I am not going to fall for this Mammillaria conspiracy. They did this to me last year…

<<<<Mammillaria hahniana>>>>

Mammillaria hahniana (Old Lady Cactus) at 3 5/8″ tall x 3 3/8″ wide on 10-15-20, #747-67.

Several Mammillaria species have a lot of wool like the Mammillaria hahniana (Old Lady Cactus). I have had this cactus as a companion since I brought it home from Wal-Mart on February 1, 2016. It was only 1 7/8″ tall x 23/8″ wide when I brought it home now it is 3 5/8″ tall x 3 3/8″ wide. NO, I am not going to measure it again to make sure…

Mammillaria hahniana (Old Lady Cactus) on 10-15-20, #747-68.

The Mammillaria hahniana is quite a bloomer and may surprise you anytime throughout the year. Most Mammillaria species are sort of concave at their apex and their spines just kind of unfold as they grow. Mammillaria hahniana is sort of flat-topped and you can clearly see how concave it is in the center. This species is rather globe-shaped when young but can become more columnar with age. Over time they can form good-sized colonies but I don’t think they divide dichotomously.

Mammillaria hahniana (Old Lady Cactus) on 11-6-20, #755-1.

I had to take the above photo on November 6 because it has more buds. It will continue growing more, maybe in 2-3 rows. Llifle (Encyclopedia of Living Forms) lists several subspecies and varieties of Mammillaria hahniana but none are currently accepted even though they were once validly published. They all have certain peculiarities in the quantity and size of spines (central and/or radial), wool, flower color, etc. One even has white flowers. While it may be true they are the same species, these characteristics set them apart so I personally think the intraspecific names should be used to distinguish them from one another. When young, they might look very similar, but these different “features” become more pronounced with age.

<<<<Mammillaria karwinskiana>>>>

Mammillaria karwinskiana (Silver Arrows) at 3 5/8 tall x 3″ wide on 10-15-20, #747-69.

The Mammillaria karwinskiana (Silver Arrows) is a great little cactus that has gotten more wooly since I brought it home from Lowe’s on 9-21-18. It was 1 7/8″ tall x 2 3/16″ wide when I brought it home and now it is 3 5/8″ tall x 3″ wide. If you find this plant at Lowe’s or Wal-Mart it is likely to be labeled Mammillaria nejapensis which is a synonym. In fact, this species has 60 synonyms!!! Ummm… There were only 45 the last time I updated its page last December. GEEZ!!! Where did they all come from? OH, I know… POWO has been uploading a lot of names from the International Plant Names Index (IPNI) they didn’t have in their database. Maybe that’s why…

Mammillaria karwinskiana (Silver Arrows) with lots of wool for the winter on 7-15-20, #747-70.

The tufts of wool on the Mammillaria karwinskiana reminds me of tiny rabbit’s feet (you know, the rabbit’s foot keychains).

Mammillaria karwinskiana (Silver Arrows) with flowers on 11-1-20, #754-2.

It started flowering more shortly after I brought it inside. I am glad its flowers aren’t pink… Maybe this one is a guy.

<<<<Mammillaria muehlenpfordtii>>>>

Mammillaria muehlenpfordtii (Golden Pincushion) on at 4 1/8″ tall x 3″ wide on 10-15-20, #747-71.

I really like this Mammillaria muehlenpfordtii (Golden Pincushion) with its club-shape. I brought it home from Lowe’s when it was 3 1/4″ tall x 2 1/8″ wide in September of 2018. It had fallen over on the discount rack and was completely out of its pot. I picked it up and looked at it, put it back in its pot, then put it in my cart. There was barely any soil left because it had fallen out and onto the floor. This plant likely would have been thrown out and I certainly couldn’t let that happen… I liked its shape, its silver-bluish-green color, and the combination of very long and short spines. Sounded like a win-win for both of us so I bought it home.

The label said it was a Mammillaria celsiana but that species has been determined to be a synonym of Mammillaria muehlenpfordtii. This is one of several Mammillaria I now have in my small collection that divides dichotomously. That means the plant itself becomes two, then two becomes four, and so on. Well, the information says they do that when they “mature” which I have no idea when that will be. 🙂 Until they divide, they are said to be a solitary species. It doesn’t seem to mind its neighbors, though. They are always teasing the cats, trying to get them to jump on their table…

Mammillaria muehlenpfordtii (Golden Pincushion) from the top on 10-15-20, #747-72.

Information I have read says this is a summer bloomer but it is flowering now like it did last October. If it bloomed in the summer I missed it. Some Mammillaria flower just about anytime during the year. I told him “guys aren’t supposed to like pink.” He replied, “Who said I am a guy?” GEEZ! Some Mammillaria species are a bit of a smart aleck…

<<<<Mammillaria mystax>>>>

Mammillaria mystax at 2 3/4″ tall x 2 3/4: wide on 10-15-20. #747-73.

The Mammillaria mystax is a very neat and tidy cactus that hails from central and southwest Mexico. Ummm… There is still no common name given for this cactus. It has done very well since I brought it home from Lowe’s on September 21, 2018. It has grown from 1 3/4″ tall x 2 1/4″ wide to 2 3/4″ tall x 2 3/4″ wide. Even in nature, this species only grows to 6-8″ tall.

I think it is odd how the central spines close to the top are longer than the central spines farther down. Do they shrink as the plant grows or does it grow longer spines as it matures? I am learning that some species of Mammillaria change quite a bit as they age which led to many subspecies and variety names. I know, I know… I am repeating myself. Mammillaria have a tendency to make one talk to themself.

Mammillaria mystax has 28 synonyms now. The featured image on Llifle (Encyclopedia of Living Forms) for Mammillaria mystax shows a cactus that was formerly Mammillaria casoi with long, entangled spines… Supposedly, this species is highly variable. Hmmm… I don’t get it but I guess I don’t have to understand to be confused. 🙂

Mammillaria mystax from the top on 10-15-20, #747-74.

Hmmm… Still, no sign of flowers or buds but it is still a neat plant. Look at those spines! I like it because it is such a neat little ball of thorns plus I have to find out what this one will do as it matures…

<<<<Mammillaria plumosa>>>> 

Mammillaria plumosa (Feather Cactus) at 1 3/8″ tall x 3 1/4″ wide on 10-15-20, #747-75.

The Mammillaria plumosa (Feather Cactus) is quite a neat clump of fuzz. I bought this cactus from an Ebay seller in September 2018 and I will never forget how it arrived. It was like a little ball all wrapped up in toilet paper. The cluster was only 2 1/4″ wide and the largest plant, the big one in the middle, was only 3/4″ tall. It has done quite well and now the biggest plant is 1 3/8″ tall and the cluster is 3 1/4″ wide. Or at least it was on October 15. It is a VERY slow spreader and I think I can barely see two very tiny offsets starting to peak through.

Mammillaria plumosa (Feather Cactus) on 11-6-20, #755-3.

I took a couple more photos of the Mammillaria plumosa to show its flowers.

Mammillaria plumosa (Feather Cactus) on 11-6-20, #755-4.

This hole has been here for a while and I think it is where a flower was last year. Maybe I need to comb it. 🙂

If you ever get a chance to get one of these, I think you will like it. Check on Ebay.

<<<<Mammillaria pringlei>>>>

Mammillaria pringlei (Lemon Ball Cactus) at 5 3/4″ tall x 2 1/2″ wide on 10-15-20, #747-76.

The Mammillaria pringlei (Lemon Ball Cactus) is the third oldest Mammillaria in my collection. I brought it home from Lowe’s on April 24, 2017, but apparently, I didn’t measure it until October 17 when I moved the plants inside for the winter. At that time, it measured 4 1/2″ tall x 3 1/2″ with the spines. Since 2018, I always measure the cactus body and ignore the spines he best I can. Anyway, this cactus always does well and on October 15 it measured 5 3/4″ tall x 2 1/2″ wide. Hmmm… That is the same width as last year BUT I am not going to remeasure it now because I have a sneaky suspicion it will be different. I don’t want to get caught up in remeasuring the Mammillaria again, even though I am curious… Maybe I can do it when they are sleeping so they won’t say, “AH HA! I knew you couldn’t resist.” 🙂

Mammillaria pringlei (Lemon Ball Cactus) from the top on 10-15-20, #747-77.

Mammillaria pringlei is quite a bloomer. It flowers off and on during the summer but really puts on a show in the fall.

Mammillaria pringlei is one of the only species of Mammillaria with yellow spines. They look more white in the photo because of the light.

Mammillaria pringlei (Lemon Ball Cactus) on 11-1-20, #754-3.

I took another photo of the Mammillaria pringlei on November 1. I just had to do it. She asked, “where is your tape measure? Hiding in your pocket?”

This species was once considered a subspecies of Mammillaria rhodantha (next one on the list) then included in the Mammillaria rhodantha Group…

<<<<Mammillaria rhodantha>>>>

Mammillaria rhodantha (Rainbow Pincushion) at 4 1/4″ tall x 2 5/8″ wide on 10-15-20, #747-78.

Mammillaria rhodantha (Rainbow Pincushion) is quite a cactus! Its reddish spines make it a very attractive show-stopper. This was one of my first cactus from Wal-Mart when I started rebuilding my collection of plants in 2016. Until then, I previously had quite a few succulents but not that many cactus. I realized that many succulents I had in Mississippi where I had five sunrooms did not like the low light during the winter here. SO, when I started collecting plants again I went for more cactus because they can handle low light during the winter. I didn’t measure the Mammillaria rhodantha when I first brought it home from Wal-Mart on February 1, 2016, but it was 3 3/4″ tall x 3″ wide (including the spines) on October 17. On October 15 when I brought the plants inside it measured 4 1/4″ tall x 2 5/8″ wide. Hmmm… That is a little shorter than last October when it measured 4 1/2″ tall. Like I mentioned, that is probably because I watered the cactus the day before and they hadn’t “swelled” yet. Even in the wild, Mammillaria rhodantha only grows from 6-12″ tall, so it likely grows fairly SSSSLLLLOOOOWWWW.

The species is variable and some Mammillaria rhodantha have yellowish or whitish spines.

Mammillaria rhodantha (Rainbow Pincushion) from the top on 10-15-20, #747-79.

The Mammillaria rhodantha typically flowers from spring through fall, but this one didn’t flower well until last year. It seemed to be loaded with buds at times but they never grew or opened. Other species in my collection start flowering in one spot then kind of go around the circle. This one will produce buds but the flowers open without a system.

My last update of this species own page was in November 2019 when Plants of the World Online listed 115 synonyms of Mammillaria rhodantha. Now there are 132!!!  78 species are other Mammillaria that were decided were actually Mammillaria rhodantha. There are 35 varieties, subspecies, or forms of Mammillaria rhodantha named that were once valid accepted names. An additional 54 are from when some of those infraspecific names were species in other genera as well as Mammillaria, some fairly recent and some very old names. That doesn’t include names that were not validly published… Mammillaria pringlei was also once considered a subspecies of Mammillaria rhodantha, and apparently, there are variants of it with yellow and whitish spines… Hard to explain it, but there are, or were, six other genera that many species of Mammillaria were in at one point. Heck, most of the older named species in any genera of cactus started out in the genus simply called Cactus

<<<<Mammillaria vetula (subsp. gracilis)>>>>

Mammillaria vetula (subsp. gracilis) at 1 3/8″ tall on 10-15-20, #747-82.

The Mammillaria vetula (subsp. gracilis) (Thimble Cactus) is hanging in there to be a good parent. Some of its kids stayed attached better the past summer and the ones that fell off are taking root. This is “one of those” you have to handle with care but not because of its spines. The offsets fall off very easily which is why one of its past scientific names, “fragilis”,  was very appropriate. I had a fairly large pot of this one before, but I hadn’t really been to Lowe’s or Wal-Mart that much to find another one. When I did go to Lowe’s and was looking for one like before, I choose the “Arizona Snowcap’ (below) instead. Then when I went to Wagler’s Greenhouse to take plants in September 2019, I noticed a very small cactus with a few tiny offsets sticking out of it. I looked at it and realized it was a Mammillaria but it didn’t quite look familiar. Well, I brought it home and it turned out to definitely be a Mammillaria vetula subsp. gracilis. I was always used to seeing them available in clusters not as a single specimen. It did perfectly fine over the winter and the next summer and grew quite a bit, well, the offsets did. By the time I moved the plants inside for the winter, most of its offsets had fallen off. Then it was a little plant AGAIN! Fortunately, as I said, most of the offsets it grew since then have managed to stay attached. It measures only about 2″ tall which is pretty good considering… Umm… Considering it was 2″ tall last October. 🙂 Actually, to be honest, it was only 1 1/2″ tall on October 15 but I did measure it again a few days later and it had swelled to ALMOST 2″. 🙂 🙂

Mammillaria vetula (subsp. gracilis) with a flower and several buds on 11-6-20, #755-6.

I had to get another shot of this plant on November 6 because it was waving its flower at me. It wants me to also tell you about the marble in its pot. After I brought it home from Wagler’s it kept growing toward the light and almost fell over SO, I put the marble next to it to hold it up. I was going to take it out of the pot, but apparently, it got so attached to the marble it wanted me to leave it. I guess it is like a pet rock or maybe it is afraid it will need it again…

Plants of the World Online lists Mammillaria vetula subsp. gracilis as a synonym of Mammillaria vetula (1832) even though there are differences. One difference is that Mammillaria vetula has 1-2 central spines and 25 radial spines. The subspecies does NOT have central spines. I choose to continue to use the subspecies name because it was validly published and accepted in 1997. It replaced the name Mammillaria gracilis (1838). The industry still sells this plant as Mammillaria gracilis var. fragilis which was named and accepted in 1929.

<<<<Mammillaria vetula (subsp. gracilis) ‘Arizona Snowcap’>>>>

Mammillaria vetula (subsp. gracilis) ‘Arizona Snowcap’ at 1 1/2″ tall on 10-15-20, #747-80.

The Mammillaria vetula (subsp. gracilis) ‘Arizona Snowcap’ did great over the past summer and now, FINALLY, is looking like this cultivar is supposed to again. When I found this cluster at Lowe’s on July 18, 2018 it was a 2″ tall x 5″ wide cluster of balls hanging over the sides of a 3 1/2″ diameter pot. The reason I chose this cultivar over the regular Mammillaria vetula subsp. gracilis was because many of the balls were covered with thick, white spines and I hadn’t seen any like it before. Well, it was just flat neat! I brought it home and took photos. Of course, I put the cluster in a larger pot. Over the next summer, 2019, the plants that were more white died off!  After I moved the plants inside for the winter I removed the dead plants and kind of spruced up the pot a little.

Mammillaria vetula (subsp. gracilis) ‘Arizona Snowcap’ on 10-15-20, #747-81.

Fortunately, over the summer, the cluster is looking GREAT! As you can see in the above photo, one of the plants has a circle of buds.

Mammillaria vetula (subsp. gracilis) ‘Arizona Snowcap’ on 11-6-20, #755-5.

I took another photo on November 6 after most of the flowers had opened. It is really neat to see such a small plant have a circle of flowers.

According to LLIFLE (Encyclopedia of Living Forms), this cultivar is a monstrous form, or mutation, of Mammillaria vetula subsp. gracilis that is not found in the wild. They say it is of garden or nursery origin and perhaps a hybrid…

Well, that’s it for the Mammillaria update and it only took about three days to finish. Seems like a week! 🙂 I can get the remaining 10 cactus and succulents in the next post.

Until next time, take care, be safe, stay positive, and always be thankful! I hope you are all doing well…

Cactus & Succulent Update Part 4: The Mammillaria Collection

Mammillaria Group Photo on 11-16-19. Back row from left to right: Mammillaria pringlei, Mammillaria elongata, Mammillaria decipiens (in a new pot), and Mammillaria vetula subsp. gracilis ‘Arizona Snowcap’. Middle row from left to right: Mammillaria rhodantha, Mammillaria muehlenpfordtii, Mammillaria hahniana, and Mammillaria karwinskiana. Front Row from left to right: Mammillaria vetula subsp. gracilis, Mammillaria mystax, and Mammillaria plumosa (in a new pot).

Hello Everyone! I hope this post finds you well! Part four of the cactus and succulent update is about the Mammillaria species in my small collection. Mammillarias are among the widest genus of cactus collected for many reasons. Most are very easy to grow and there are a lot of species to choose from. Plants of the World Online currently lists 162 species. As with the previous three updates, these photos were taken on October 11 when I moved the potted plants inside for the winter.

HERE WE GO…

 

Mammillaria decipiens (Bird’s Nest Pincushion) at 1 1/2″ tall x 4″ wide on 10-11-19, #639-56.

The Mammillaria decipiens (Bird’s Nest Pincushion) always amazes me. It seems like every time I put it in a wider pot it wastes no time filling it up. It was 1 1/2″ tall x 4″ wide on October 11. It was squished in its pot when I brought it home from Wal-Mart at 3″ wide in March 2018. But, the weird thing is that is shrunk 1/2″ in height. 🙂 I think the subspecies for this plant should be Mammillaria decipiens subsp. camptotricha although it is not “currently’ validly recognized. Hmmm… I have been saying that for a while now. I really like this plant because of its long tubercles, the spines that seem to form a web across the entire clump, and the fact that it produces a lot of flowers. There weren’t many flowers when I took this photo on 10-11-19 but there were later. It isn’t uncommon for it to have a few during the summer as well.

To view this plant’s own page, click HERE.

 

Mammillaria elongata (Ladyfinger Cactus) on 10-11-19, #639-58).

The Mammillaria elongata (Ladyfinger Cactus, Golden Stars) is one of the weirdest cactus in my collection. Sometimes the main stem is leaning over (one way or the other) and sometimes it is straight up. I mentioned before we had a rough start when I accidentally knocked it off the plant table only a few days after I brought it home. Most of the offsets fell off so I just stuck them back in the pot, which was barely big enough at the time. I spaced them out better when I repotted then the main stem got even with so many more offsets. The other weird thing is the measurement… I didn’t take a measurement when I took the photo on 10-11, but I did a few days later when I took photos of its flowers. There were only a few buds when I took the above photo, but on October 19 through early November there were A LOT! Anyway, the measurement I typed in said 6 5/6″ tall… What in the heck did that mean? SO, I decided to take another measurement when I was writing this post. The main stem was standing straight up and the measurement was 7 3/8″. GEEZ! I stood the stem up before to take the measurement so I would be close to accurate. It isn’t uncommon for cactus to shrink and swell when they have ample moisture so it isn’t uncommon for their measurements to be a lot different in just a short period of time. The central stem measured only 4″ tall when I brought it home in March 2018 and the cluster was 3 3/4″ wide. I didn’t measure the width this time because the stems move around so much. I thought maybe they lean toward the sun but sometimes they seem to be leaning toward the shade… Like I said, this plant is weird…

To view this plants page, click HERE.

 

Mammillaria hahniana (Old Lady Cactus) at 3 1/4″ tall x 3 3/8″ wide on 10-11-19, #639-59.

The Mammillaria hahniana (Old Lady Cactus) is a very neat plant to grow with all its wool. It produces quite a few flowers off and on and right now has a few more buds. It measured 3 1/4″ tall x 3 3/8″ wide on 10-11-19 and I am not about to remeasure it again until next year. It was only 1 7/8″ tall x 2 3/8″ wide when I brought it home from Wal-Mart on February 1, 2016.

Click HERE to view the Mammillaria hahniana page.

 

Mammillaria karwinskiana (Silver Arrows) at 3 1/4″ tall x 2 3/4″ wide on 10-11-19, #639-61.

The Mammillaria karwinskiana (Silver Arrows) is another fairly wooly cactus companion. It seems a little strange posting this photo since I posted a later photo of it with flowers already. Right now it has 11 buds and flowers. OK, I will go take a photo right now and show you…

 

Mammillaria karwinskiana flowers on 11-14-19, #660-1.

You can’t see all the flowers and buds, but there are 11. Pretty neat how they are facing the inside of the house instead of being toward the sun.

Anyway, on October 11, the Mammillaria karwinskiana measured 3 1/4″ tall by 2 3/4″ wide. Hmmm… I just double-checked. 🙂 At least it said “about” what it did before. This plant has grown AAAALLLOOOTTT taller! It was only 1 7/8″ tall when I brought it home from Lowe’s in September 2018 and 2 3/16″ wide.

Click HERE to view this plant’s own page.

 

Mammillaria muehlenpfordtii (Golden Pincushion) at 3 3/4″ tall x 2 7/8″ wide on 10-11-19, #639-64.

This is a BEAUTIFUL plant! The Mammillaria muehlenpfordtii (Golden Pincushion) has this two-tone glow going on. A silvery-white-greenish glow overlaid with a golden glow. It almost looks like it has a halo. It is a bit of a leaner and I kept taking it out of the pot and straightening it up. I realized it is normal and many cactus lean toward the south so I just turn the pot once in a while. You can’t do that in the wild and some large cactus eventually fall over.

Currently, or at least on October 11, this cactus measured 3 3/4″ tall x 2 7/8″ wide. I found this plant out of its pot and laying on its side on the discount rack at Lowe’s in September 2018. I picked it up and thought its club shape looked pretty neat so I brought it home. It has only grown 1/2″ taller and 3/4″ wider since I brought it home even though it seems like it has grown a lot. Hmmm…

The other thing about this plant that you can’t see (because I hide it) is the clump of hot glue STILL stuck to its side. Normally the strawflowers are stuck to the top. If you look close, you can see like a ridge in the center of the plant that goes all the way around it. That is where the clump of glue is stuck to its “skin” on the other side… Just another reason companies should stop using hot glue to stick the dumb strawflowers on cactus. It’s completely ridiculous! Maybe we should all send emails to Altman Plants (thecactuscollection.com). They are the largest producer of cactus and succulents in the United States.

Click HERE to visit this plant’s own page.

 

Mammillaria mystax at 2 1/4″ tall x 2 1/2″ wide on 10-11-19, #639-67.

The Mammillaria mystax is indeed a humble little plant. It is very quiet and polite, doesn’t get excited, and it never causes any problems. As long as you give it what it needs to live and grow it will be happy and do just that. Nothing else. 🙂 So, what makes this plant special? Well, it is one of several species that divide dichotomically. It also has these strange trichomes (hairs) that grow between the tubercles that the others in my collection don’t have.  It measured 1 3/4″ tall by 2 1/4″ wide when I brought it home from Lowe’s in September 2018. By October 11 it had grown to 2 1/4″ tall x 2 1/2″ wide.

Click HERE to view this plant’s own page.

 

Mammillaria plumosa (Feather Cactus) at 1 1/2″ tall x 3″ wide on 10-11-19, #639-69.

My feathered friend, the Mammillaria plumosa (Feather Cactus), that I bought from a seller on Ebay in September 2018 has done quite well. The cluster of plants was 3/4′ tall x 2 1/4″ wide when it arrived and now has filled its pot at 1 1/2″ tall x 3″ wide. It produced several good-sized flowers since the above photo was taken that are sort of similar to Mammillaria karwinskiana without the reddish color. It needs a new pot now… OH, it is one of only a few cactus to receive the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit.

Click HERE to view this plants own page.

 

Mammillaria pringlei (Lemon Ball Cactus) at 5 1/2″ tall x 2 1/2″ wide on 10-11-19 #639-71.

What can I say about the Mammillaria pringlei (Lemon Ball Cactus)? For one, it is a leaner that I keep turning around. It is a very nice looking plant that I brought home from Lowe’s in October 2017. It flowers freely and abundantly and always looks great. I think it was my first cactus that flowered in 2017. It is now 5 1/2″ tall x 2 1/2″ wide which is around an inch taller and wider than when I brought it home. It is very similar in many ways to the Mammillaria rhodantha and was once named Mammillaria rhodantha subsp. pringlei.

To view this plant’s own page, click HERE.

 

Mammillaria rhodantha (Rainbow Pincushion) at 4 1/2″ tall x 2 1/2″ wide on 10-11-19, #639-73.

There is no mistaking the Mammillaria rhodantha (Rainbow Pincushion) with its rusty red central spines and white radial spines. It has always been an attention getter. It is a very stately plant, in my opinion, along with Mammillaria pringlei. This one does lean a little but not as much as M. pringlei. It doesn’t produce that many flowers but the spine color make up for it. Maybe because it realizes its pink flowers don’t look that good with the color of its spines. What color would look good, anyway? It is now 4 1/2″ tall x 2 1/2″ wide. Apparently, I didn’t measure this plant when I first brought it home from Wal-Mart in February 2016 then I screwed up and measured the cactus “with” the spines in 2017. It is one of my oldest cactus since I started recollecting in 2016.

To view this plant’s own page, click HERE.

 

Mammillaria vetula subsp. gracilis at 1 1/2″ tall on 10-13-19, #641-4.

Hmmm… Mammillaria vetula subsp. gracilis (Thimble Cactus). OK… I brought home my first “colony” of Thimble Cactus from Lowe’s in April 2013. It grew by leaps and bounds but, unfortunately, I gave up most of my plants in the summer of 2014. Then, when I took plants to Wagler’s Greenhouse last year I found this very small plant. I didn’t even recognize it as a Thimble Cactus at first. The main plant was very small and had several kids growing from it which have all fallen off but one. I now remember how the colony of the first pot grew so fast… Now, at only 1 1/2″ tall, it is building a successful family.

If you have a pot labeled, or find one labeled, Mammillaria gracilis fragilis or something of the sort, it is this plant…

If you click o this plant’s own page HERE, you will see photos of the previous colony I had as a companion and what this one will become like.

 

Mammillaria vetula subsp. gracilis ‘Arizona Snowcap’ on 10-11-19, #639-74.

I look at the photo of the Mammillaria vetula subsp. gracilis ‘Arizona Snowcap’ and find myself at a loss for words. I know what I want to say, but there are no words for the definition. Have you ever had that problem? A definition with no words? I think the photo is the definition of GEE WHIZ! OK, I had been to Lowe’s to buy potting soil in July 2018 and ran across a pot with this “cluster” plus a pot of the, umm, M. vetula subsp. gracilis (like the one in the previous photo. I am whispering because I don’t want it to hear me). I left the other pot behind and brought home the one labeled Mammillaria gracilis v. fragilis monstrose… That is what Altman Plants calls it for some reason. Yes, ‘Arizona Snowcap’ is a monstrose form of Mammillaria vetula subsp. gracilis. It has an ABUNDANCE of shorter white spines than the “regular” subspecies. Now, when I brought my pot home, it was bulging and overflowing. I saw photos online of plants that were nearly solid white, like snowballs and I wondered why the pot of plants I brought home was not that solid white. After I repotted it/them and they begin to spread out a bit and do really well over the summer. They looked great and very happy but still, they didn’t look like the photos online. Then, in October (2018) I noticed a completely white plant. I thought, “WOW!” Then afterward, a few others started becoming more white. The weird thing is that the whiter offsets died after I moved the plants outside for the summer… Hmmm… I am going to do some work on this pot so it will look better…

Oh yeah, the tallest plant in the colony is 2″ tall. As with the regular Mammillaria vetula subsp. gracilis, they don’t grow that tall but they freely offset from the bottom and sides. Offsets fall off and form a larger colony.

To view this plant’s own page, click HERE.

That is it for part 4 and there will still be one more plus the repotting post. Then what? 🙂 What would you like for me to post about? I will be working on updating the pages for the cactus on this page, so if you click on the link you may not see current photos. It takes a lot of time to update as I go and may take several days to finish.

Until next time, be safe and stay positive. Go outside and take a deep refreshing breath and say “THANK YOU!” Do it twice more. 🙂 If you can get dirty, do it…