Mammillaria of the Month

(click here for previous Mamms of the Month)

Mammillaria wrightii ssp. wilcoxii

Photo: Plant in Cultivation: M wrightii v. wilcoxii SB3. Copyright of Chris Davies 2009

Following on from last month's Mammillaria wrightii, we have now its subspecies, Mammillaria wrightii ssp. wilcoxii. This now subspecies of M. wrightii has also been known in the past as Mammillaria meridiorosea, under which name the featured plant was obtained from Mesa Garden seed.

It is, of course, yet 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 is also a white flowered form not given subspecies status but just described as forma wolfii.

The species is described as solitary, depressed, short cylindric, about 5cm in diameter, with naked axils. It has 14-16 radial spines thin and white to 10mm. Its solitary central spine is stronger than in the type species, brown hooked and paler towards the areole. Its flowers are large to 35mm long and wide,. They are of a vivd purple colour, (or white in the form), with darker throats, as can be seen well in the photograph above.

Although described as solitary, in its Sonoran form from near Yacora, it can be found both solitary and also heavily clumping, even in the same locality, so this characteristic would appear to be somewhat variable. The more northerly forms appear not to offset in this way.

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.