Mammillaria of the Month

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Mammillaria albicans ssp. albicans

Mammillaria albicans ssp. albicans SB1251 from San Juan del Costa, north of La Paz, BCS.  Copyright Chris Davies 2013  

This is a lovely plant, the almost clear white flowers enhancing the mostly white spination, all set off by the long purple stigmas. It was originally called Mammillaria slevinii, and then albicans, and eventually M. fraileana and M. albicans were merged under the species name of M. albicans.
It is a rather slower growing plant than the subspecies (as it is now classed) of M. albicans ssp. fraileana, and doesn't exhibit the often untidy growth of that subspecies. Interestingly it can be found in forms with straight central spines, and also with hooked central spines (the Lau 1374 form is one such). In time it can make relatively slender stems of up to 30cm tall, and offsets somewhat reluctantly. As with most of the hooked spined plants of the Ancistracanthae from Baja California, it likes as much sun as you can give it, a very gritty, open compost, and water when fully dry.