Mammillaria of the Month

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Mammillaria crinita (f. leucantha)


Mammillaria crinita f. leucantha                                                                                                                                                          Photo: Copyright Chris Davies


This form of Mammillaria crinita ssp. crinita has been known under the name of Mammillaria crinita v. leucantha or even Mammillaria leucantha for many years. It is a similar form to Mammillaria crinita ssp crinita, with the differences being relatively minor. It is probably best left as a form of M. crinita, with or without the actual forma appellation.


It was described at Mammillaria leucantha  in 1933 by Viereck, having been found near Soledad Diez Gutierrez in San Luis Potosi. This description called for 3 hooked centrals, although plants in cultivation under this name do not show this number, mainly having just one hooked central, the other two being straight.


Reppenhagen puts this plant under Mammillaria knebeliana, described by Boedeker also in 1933. This name is also considered to be a form of Mammillaria crinita. At one stage Mammillaria knevbeliana was considered to be intermediate between M. crinita and M. leucantha, all o which goes to show just how confused the naming of this plant in all its forms has been.


The range of variability of Mammillaria crinita is such, and the differences across it range of an extent that, it is a brave man who decides that a partiular geographic variant deserves a species name.


However, nomenclature aside, it is a nice plant, easy to grow and flower, and forming as most of this species do a nice clump of heads, which in flower, light up any corner of a greenhouse.