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Mammillaria phitauiana
(Syn: Mammillaria verhaertiana )

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Mammillaria phitauiana
(Rancho Labuerra, Baja California, Mexico)
This is an unusual plant in collections  that require acid organic soil.
 

 

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Family: Cactaceae (Cactus Family)

Scientific name:  Mammillaria phitauiana (E.M.Baxter) Werdermann in Backeberg.
First description by Baxter, Journ. Cact. Succ. Soc. 2:471 (1931)
[Also: Neue Kakt. 96, 1931]

Series: ANCISTRACANTHAE

Origin
Found by Baxter at east of Todos Santos, Sierra de la Laguna, in the southern tip of the state of Baja California , Mexico.

Habitat:   It grows in open plains and low hills under the protection of small scrubs, brushwood and trees on granitic rocks. The soil is acidic and rich in humus, since the organic rest, the shade and the humidity of the coast, favor this condition. Altitude to 450 m.

Conservation status: Listed in CITES appendix 2.

Synonyms:

  • Mammillaria verhaertiana Boedeker = status doubtful.
    In: Monatschrift fur kakteenkunde 22: 152 - 153, 1912.
    Neomammillaria phitauiana
  • Ebnerella phitauiana
  • Ebnerella verhaertiana
  • Chilita phitauiana
  • Chilita verhaertiana

Description:
Mammillaria phitauiana is a small cactus solitary at first, later forming clusters from basal branches.
Stems: Short-cylindric to culumnar, pale-green 25-30 cm high and 4-5 cm in diameter. Without latex.
Tubercles: Quadrangular sub-conical, 7 mm long and 6 mm in diameter, keeled. Axil with some short white wool and silky bristles.
Radial spine: 18 - 24 (usually 20), yellowish white, bristle-like, radiating, 4 - 12 mm long, lower one the longest.
Central spine: 4(-6) , straight or with one of them hooked, white with brownish tips, to 12 mm long.
Flower: White, yellowish white or cream with pale pink to brown small midstripes, 20-25 mm long and 15-18 mm in diameter. Often failing to open completely.
Fruit: Club-shaped, red, 15 - 30 mm long, 6 - 10 mm in diameter.
Seed: Black, 0,8 - 0,9 mm long and 0,6 mm wide
Blooming season (Europe): From May- June.
 
 


Cultivation: It is a  slow growing species.  Water occasionally in winter so the roots do not dry out completely, and water regularly in summer.  Some growers suggest to use exclusively rain water.  But be careful, as it will rot easily if the substrate is wet and cold.  It tends to lose its roots in winter. The root system of this plant is comparatively small, and it is best to grow it in a shallow with good drainage pot using a  very porous and slightly acidic compost, with plenty of extra grit. Give an occasional tonic of sequestrated iron. Feed with a high potassium fertilizer  in summer.
Usually it is recommended to overwinter this plant in a bright and warm greenhouse with at least 8-10 C , but it proved to be quite frost resistant
(if kept dry it is hardy as low as -5 C) Strong light (but not direct sun) is required for flowering. Some plants will offset readily, and clumps can be produced in a very few years.

Propagation: Direct  sow after last frost, cuttings.

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.