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Genus Mammillaria
Subfamilia Cactoideae , Tribus Cacteae
Mammillaria is the largest and the most studied genus of the family Cactaceae. And, the genus is the most popular among the hobbyists, so hundreds of species are described. Also, there were many classification shemes for the genus Mammillaria, eg. Hunt's, Reppenhagen's, Lüthy's classifications. As a result of the long time work of many scientists and serious collectors, there is a new and good classification in The New Cactus Lexicon (2006) by International Cactaceae Systematics Group. As to NCL, there are 163 species and 69 subspecies in the genus.
Most species of the genus are native to Mexico, and their distribution extends from southwestern USA, Caribbean, to Central America, or even a couple in northern South America. In their range you can find Mammillarias from sea level to high elevations.
The name comes from Latin, mamilla, nipple or teat referring to the tubercles. The type species is Mammillaria mammillaris (Cactus mammillaris). The genus Mammillaria is the type genus of the family Cactaceae.
More than a dosen genera have been described to seperate various groups of Mammillaria but until this time, DNA researches show that only two, Cochemiea and Mamilloydia are distinct genera (E.F.Anderson, The Cactus Family, 2001). In NCL, Cochemiea is not accepted as a seperate genus. I use NCL classification for labelling my collection of Mammillaria species, except Cochemiea. As Anderson, I believe that Cochemiea is a good genus.
Many publications exist for the genus, among them John Pilbeam's book Mammillaria (1999) is so worthy for me.
They vary in size from miniature 2.5 cm in diameter, to columnar types 40 cm tall. Stems are depressed globose to cylindrical, some clumping, distinctly tuberculate, areoles are dimorphic as spine bearing and axillary flower production parts but there is no grooves. Some species have white latex sap. The flowers arose not apically but from the older axils. Some species, the flowers form a ring on axils of previous growing season.
Their growing requirements are quite varied also. Many species are easy and fast to grow and to get to bloom while young, this is why they are very popular. Some are quite hardy while others will rot easily if kept too cold.
All of them require excellent drainage. This is more easily accomplished by using a good cactus soil mixture, and using a shallow pot.
In general the Mammillarias bloom easily, but many species need a rest period in winter during which they are kept cool in order to bloom.
The NCL classification for subgenera and series of the genus Mammillaria:
1. subgenus Oehmea
2. subgenus Dolichotehele
3. subgenus Phellosperma
4. subgenus Chilita (Ancistracanthae)
5. subgenus Krainzia, series 1. Longiflorae, 2.Herrerae+Pectiniferae
6. subgenus Cochemia
7. subgenus Mamillopsis
8. subgenus Mammillaria, series 1. Lasiacanthae (Bombycinae), 2. Stylothelae, 3. Proliferae, 4. Sphacelatae, 5. Decipientes, 6. Leptocladodae, 7. Heterochlorae, 8. Rhodanthae, 9. Polyacanthae, 10. Supertextae, 11. Leucocephalae, 12. Mammillaria, 13. Polyedrae.

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Mammillaria discolor 05
A.Süleyman Demir

Mammillaria discolor 05

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Taken: October 23, 2004
Uploaded: November 25, 2009
Captured with:
Fujifilm FinePix S7000