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Origin and Habitat: Nuevo Leon and Coahuila, Mexico.
Altitude: (930-)1140-2500 metres above sea level.
Habitat: Grows mainly in the bushes in rocky habitats in the Sierra Madre Oriental. Near Monterrey it grows on low hills, with lots of limestone in the soil and subsoil rocks.
- Mammillaria winterae Boed.
Mammillaria winterae Boed.
Monatsschr. Deutsch. Kakteen-Ges. 1: 119 (1929)
Mammillaria winterae subs. aramberri D.R.Hunt
Mammillaria Postscripts 6: 10 (1997): 1997 [Replaced synonym:Cactaceae Mammillaria crassimammillis Repp.]
Description: Mammillaria winterae is a spherical cactus species that grows flatted to the ground with a solitary body attaining a large size (up to 30 cm in diameter) and is one of the largest Mammillaria. It is a very distinctive plant with large, angled tubercles decorated by rings of pale greenish-yellow blooms.
Habit: Plants usually solitary, sometimes forming clumps.
Stems: Hemispherical to depressed globose, light green to blue green, 20-30 cm in diameter.
Sap: With latex.
Tubercles: Large, four-angled, keeled, with latex. The axils that are at first naked, but later develop dense white wool, but without bristles. Parastichy number 8-13.
Radial spine: Absent.
Central spine: 4 in a cross formation, whitish, pale grey or slightly reddish, with brown tips, stout, needle-like, straight or slightly curved, the longest, up to 30(-45) mm, are the upper and lower, the two side ones only to half that length.
Flower: Quite large, yellowish white or greenish yellow in colour, up to 3 cm long and almost as wide. Inner perianth segments yellowish-white or greenish-white with sulphur yellow midveins, outer perianth segments brownish red with broad yellowish white margins,
Fruit: Club shaped, pale red.
Chromosome number: 2n = 22.
Subspecies, varieties, forms and cultivars of plants belonging to the Mammillaria winterae group
- Mammillaria winterae Boed.: is mostly solitary stemmed and has flattened stems up to 30 cm in diameter. The spines are up to 30 (or more) mm long. Distribution: Monterrey to Saltillo.
- Mammillaria winterae subs. aramberri D.R.Hunt: It often forms clumps, has narrow tubercles, and shorter spines (less than 8 mm long). Distribution: it occurs farther south near Aramberri, Nuevo Leon.
Cultivation and Propagation: Mammillaria winterae is an easy to grow species, just as a classic cactus, don't requires any special treatment, that seems to enjoy, in cultivation, good root space, and well drained compost, though it is not a quick grower. It is a great plant for the cactus grower.
Growth rate: It is a relatively slow growing species.
Soils: It likes very porous standard cactus mix soil with little organic matter (peat, humus).
Repotting: Repotting every 2-3 years. As it is prone to rot under-pot in a smaller container filled with very porous compost. Use pot with good drainage.
Watering: Water regularly in summer, but do not overwater (very wet-sensitively). Its roots are easily lost in pots that stay damp for any length of time. Keep dry with ample airflow in winter. In the rest period no high atmospheric humidity!! Care must be taken with watering as they tends to become swollen and untidy in growth habit if given too much water and shade.
Fertilization: During the growing season enrich the soil using a fertilizer rich in potassium and phosphorous, but poor in nitrogen, because this chemical element doesn’t help the development of succulent plants, making them too soft and full of water.
Hardiness: It is quite frost resistant if kept dry, hardy as low as -5° C (some reports give it hardy to -12°C). However some warmth throughout the year will increase the grower's success (minimum 5° to 8°C during rest season).
Exposition: Outside bright sun, filtered sunlight or afternoon shade, inside it needs bright light, and some direct sun. Subject to sunburn if exposed to direct sun for too long. Tends to bronze in strong light, which encourages flowering and heavy spine production.
Uses: It is an excellent plant for container growing. It always looks good and stays small. It look fine in a cold greenhouse and frame.
Traditional uses: The white, hooked spines of this spherical cactus were used as fish hooks in its native Mexico.
Pests & diseases: It may be attractive to a variety of insects, but plants in good condition should be nearly pest-free, particularly if they are grown in a mineral potting-mix, with good exposure and ventilation. Nonetheless, there are several pests to watch for:
- Red spiders: Sensitive to red spider mite. Overhead watering is helpful in controlling mites.
- Mealy bugs: Occasionally mealy bugs they develop aerial into the new growth among the wool with disfiguring results, but the worst types develop underground on the roots and are invisible except by their effects.
- Scales: Scales are rarely a problem.
- Rot: Rot it is only a minor problem with cacti if the plants are watered and “aired” correctly. If they are not, fungicides won't help all that much.
Propagation: By irect sow after last frost. Seeds germinate in 7-14 days at 21-27° C in spring, remove the glass cover gradually as the plants develops and keep ventilated, no full sun for young plants! The seedlings should not be disturbed until they are well rooted, after which they can be planted separately in small pots.
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