Mammillaria of the Month

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Mammillaria wrightii

Photo: Plant in Cultivation: M wrightii v. wrightii SB94. Copyright of Chris Davies 2009

Mammillaria wrightii is another of the more showy flowered,  hook spined species in the Ancistracanthae series and comes from south-eastern Arizona, western and south western New Mexico and across the border in to the Mexican states of Sonora and Chihuahua

There are two subspecies or varieties, the type, ssp. wrightii, and one subspecies, ssp. wilcoxii of which there is also a white flowered form not given subspecies status but just described as forma wolfii.

The species is described as solitary, gobose and from 3.5cm to 7.5cm in diameter, with naked axils. It has up to 12 radial spines the upper three stronger and are white with darker tips. Its central spines vary from 1 to 3, a little longer than the radials darker brown and hooked. Its flowers are large over 25mm long and wide, with reports of up to 35mm wide. They are of a bright purple colour, with darker throats, as can be seen well in the photograph above.

They are by no means easy in cultivation, requiring a very open gritty compost, and a little water from time to time. But when they flower, and they do so relatively early in the year given spring warmth and light, they represent some of the best that this genus can offer.