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Mammillaria karwinskiana ssp. karwinskiana CACTUS ART

Cultivation and Mail Sale
of Cacti and Succulents.

Mammillaria karwinskiana ML352
10km from Teotlan del Valle, on the road to Antonio Cuajimoloyas, Oaxaca

Description: Solitary, or slowly branching dichotomously (or basally), with cream coloured 'snowy' tomentum on the top of the plant.
Stem: Globose to short cylindrical, blue-green to dark green, up to 12 cm in diameter, 8-20 cm tall.  With latex.
Axil:  Very woolly, with tufts of white hair and  long white bristles.
Tubercles: Firm, pyramidal, arranged spirally with 13-21 parastichys
Radial spine: Usually 6, awl-like, straight to slightly curved, cream to reddish tipped with brown, becoming chalky white with age, 4 - 30 mm long, upper and lower ones longest.
Central spine: Absent
Flower: Funnel-form, cream-white to yellow with purplish mid-veins, up to 25 mm long and 15 mm in diameter.  Blooms adorn the crown of the plant, usually in a ring, in the growth of the previous year.
Flowering time:  Early spring.
Fruit: Red, elongated, and quite attractive.

M. karwinskiana  is a very variable species, and some of the different growing forms have for a long time been considered separate and distinguished varieties, for example:

  • ssp. karwinskiana has medium yellow flowers with purplish mid-veins; No central spines and 6 radial spines.
  • ssp. collinsii has white flowers with deep pink mid-veins; One central spine and 7 radial spines.
  • ssp. beiselii has white flowers with red tinted mid-veins; One central spine and 5-8 radial spines.
  • ssp. nejapensis also has white flowers with red tinted mid-veins, but the spines are larger and white and have much more wool; No central spines and 3-5 radial spines per areole.

It  is a solitary cactus, that sometime branches dichotomously. It has characteristic cream coloured 'snowy'  wool and bristles  on the top.


Photo gallery: Alphabetical listing of Cactus and Succulent pictures published in this site.

Photo gallery MAMMILLARIA



Family: Cactaceae (Cactus Family) 

Scientific name: Mammillaria karwinskiana
First description by Martius, Nov. Act. Nat. Cur. 16(1): 335 (1832)

Origin:  Mexico Oaxaca, (Morelos, Michoacan, Puebla). Altitude 1.200 - 2.100 m.

Conservation status: Listed in CITES appendix 2.


  • Neomammillaria karwinskiana (Mart.) Britton & Rose
  • Mammillaria pyrrhocephala,
  • Mammillaria multiseta,
  • Mammillaria strobilina,
  • Neomammillaria praelii,
  • Cactus praelii,
  • Mammillaria viridis var. praelii,
  • Mammillaria praelii,
  • Neomammillaria neomystax,
  • Mammillaria neomystax,
  • Mammillaria nagliana,
  • Mammillaria fischeri,
  • Mammillaria ebenacantha,
  • Mammillaria conzattii,
  • Mammillaria pyrrhocephala var. confusa,
  • Neomammillaria confusa,
  • Mammillaria confusa,
  • Cactus karwinskianus,
  • Mammillaria tropica,
  • Neomammillaria karwinskiana,
  • Mammillaria jozef-bergeri

This is one of the Mammillaria commonly called "Owl Eye Cactus", known for dichotomous branching (forking or dividing into two parts). Although dichotomous branching is not a common occurrence in cacti in general, it happens for some reason in this particular subspecies.  What is interesting about this cactus is that it began as a single head, and it has now divided twice, forming what will be four separate branches. When the division process started, it was obvious that four heads would appear, but I dont think the one head divided quadruply. Most probably, one head became two, and then those two immediately divided.
Other Owl Eye Cactus among others comprise: M. microthele, M. formosa,  M. tlalocii and M. perbella.

Cultivation: They are easy to cultivate, and make interesting specimens for any collection.  Over time they will produce large clumps.  It grows by dichotomously dividing, and also by producing offsets and doesn't require any special treatment, but needs as much light as possible without burning the plant, to keep the stems compact.  It needs a well-drained soil mix.  Water well and then allow to dry thoroughly before watering again, during the growing season. It doesn't like much, if any, winter water, and can survive short exposures to freezing temperatures (-4 C.) if properly hardened off and kept dry.
Propagation: Mammillaria karwinskiana is best propagated from seed.  Seed readily germinates at 20-22C, or by offsets if available.

Home | E-mail | Plant files | Mail Sale Catalogue | Links | Information | Search

All the information and photos in cactus art files are now available also in the new the Enciclopedia of Cacti. We hope you find this new site informative and useful.