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Mammillaria senilis
(Syn: Mamilopsis senilis )

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Mammillaria (Mamilopsis) senilis.
 
This is a very ornamental plant that looks like a cotton ball with small but deadly sharp,
glistening hooked white spines and many white radials.
 

Description: Branching basally to form clumps.
Stems: Globose to cylindrical, up to 15 cm tall and 10 cm wide. The tubercles are conical, obtuse with wool and bristles in the axil. Without latex.
Radial spine: 30 - 40, thinner than the centrals, white, to 20 mm long.
Central spine:
4 - 6, white with yellow tips, upper and lower ones hooked.
Flower: Usually orange-red, but also yellow or near white to pink (rare) , 60 - 70 mm long, 55 - 60 mm in diameter; floral tubes slender, scaly, to 4 cm long.
Flowering season: February and March
Fruit:
Silvery red to greenish white.
Seed: Black.
 

 - ID: 2002286  Irwin  Lightstone
Photo & copyright by Irwin Lightstone

Note: Mamilopsis (Mammillaria) senilis, was placed in a separate genus due to various differing characteristics involving flower shape (The flowers have a characteristic zygomorphic structure - unlike the other mammillarias - with tube possessing obvious "scales" - i.e. fleshy reduced sepaloids - and by the apparent lack of fragrance in the flower) , size, seed and pollen morphology. The genus Mamilopsis includes only M. senilis. Notice that contrarily to the name Mammillaria, Mamillopsis has only one 'm'.


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Photo of conspecific taxa, varieties, forms and cultivars of Mammillaria senilis.

 

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

Photo gallery MAMMILLARIA


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Family: Cactaceae (Cactus Family)

Scientific name:  Mammillaria senilis

First description: by Salm-Dyck, Cact. Hort. Dyck. 1849: 8,82 (1850).

Origin: Chihuahua, Jalisco and Sinaloa, Mexico. Altitude 2.400 - 2.800 m.

Habitat: Grows on moss-covered boulders in pine forests at high altitudes.

Conservation status:  Listed in CITES appendix 2.

Synonyms:

  • Mamillopsis (Mammillopsis) senilis (Salm-Dyck) Britton & Rose 1923.
  • Cochemiea senilis
  • Mamillopsis diguetii
  • Mammillaria diguetii
  • Mammillaria senilis var diguetii


Photo and copyright by Andrea B. (Bologna, Italy)
The red flowers are huge and showy
(huge for a Mammillaria) during Ferbruary and March.
 

 




Cultivation: It is a  slow growing  species and one of the most difficult Mammillaria to keep and grow that needs lots of light with ample airflow.  Water regularly in summer, but do not overwater (very wet-sensitively, especially in light of its small root system) Water thoroughly only if soil is dry to the touch, let soil dry in between to prevent root rot, keep very dry in winter. Use a very porous acidic potting media (Avoid to add limestone!), with excellent drainage, as can be achieved by the addition of extra perlite or pumice. Feed with a high potassium fertilizer  in summer
. It is a mountain plant that prefers somewhat cooler temps and it proved to be quite frost resistant if kept dry and hardy as low as -5 C (some reports give it hardy to -10C or less) Sun Exposure: High levels of light are needed to flower and for good spine development.  Can be sunburned if moved from shade/greenhouse into full sun too quickly. During the spring it may be able to take full sun until the heat arrives at the end of spring. In an area that has hot afternoon sun, it may be able to take full morning sun, but requires afternoon shade or afternoon light shade. If grown correctly, it will reward the grower with generous displays of red  flowers. A resting period in winter and strong light are necessary so that it can flower properly.
Clustering in cultivation after several years and easily flowered.
For best results, use a shallow pot, and only use the smallest diameter pot that will accommodate the plant. Sensitive to red spider mite. Overhead watering is helpful in controlling mites.

Propagation: Direct sow after last frost (usually) or division, wait until the offsets that appear at the base of old clustered specimens are 1/3 the size of the parent and then detach and plant.

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.