Mammillaria of the Month
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Mammillaria polythele (continued)
Photo: Copyright Chris Davies 2009
Continuing the occasional series on Mammillaria polythele, this month's plant is a form of the species known sometimes as Mammillaria hoffmanniana. Hunt sinks this under the Mammillaria polythele ssp. polythele category, whereas Reppenhagen resolutely maintained its species status. The plant above is from seed labelled Reppenhagen 2126, coming from the area to the east of San Luiz de la Paz, near Trancas in the state of Guanjuato.
Compared to the type there are few major differences, mainly in the number of central spines (4-7, typically 6) rather than the 3-4 of the species.
The flowers are typical of the species, and as the plant ages the build up of white wool steadily takes place, making the species white readily identifiable within the Heterochlorae series.
In time, the plant will grow cylindrical, and may need support to prevent it toppling over, as it should be understood that it's normal habitat is on the steep sides of rocky valleys.