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Origin and Habitat: Garden origin (Nursery produced cultivar)
Mammillaria herrerae f. cristata hort.
Accepted name in llifle Database:
Mammillaria herrerae Werderm.
Notizbl. Bot. Gart. Berlin-Dahlem 11: 276. 1931
- Mammillaria herrerae Werderm.
Mammillaria herrerae f. monstuosa hort.
Description: The standard Mammillaria herrerae (commonly known as the Golf's Ball Cactus) is a very popular globular cactus covered by dense tight white spines that look like a little golf ball. It usually stays solitary, or occasionally clusters from the base. The crested form is particularly beautiful, but still rare in cactus collection. The most striking feature is the dense addpressed, white spination it possesses, which serve to protect it from the harsh sun common to its native habitat. More precisely the spines benefit the plant by reducing sun exposure and by trapping a layer of air next to the cactus body. This helps to cool the plant in the summer and keep it warm in the winter.
Stems: Fan-shaped, up to 3,5 cm in width. (In cultivation it can grow slowly up to 8 cm tall and my forms, especially if grafted, large white, mounds up to 20 cm in diameter.).
Tubercles: Closely set, cylindrical, terminally truncate. The axil is naked. Without latex.
Radial spines: 100 or more, unequal, interlacing, bristly, white or grey, 1-5 mm long.
Central spines: Absent.
Flowers: Diurnal, quite large for a Mammillaria, pale pink to red-violet, 20 - 25 mm long and very showy.
Blooming season: April to May, it starts flowering when it gets to be 5-7 years old, and reaches at least 3 cm in diameter.
Fruits: Globose, whitish, small.
Seeds: Blackish brown.
Subspecies, varieties, forms and cultivars of plants belonging to the Mammillaria herrerae group
- Mammillaria herrerae Werderm.: It is small growing cactus that look like a little golf ball. It usually stays solitary, or occasionally clusters from the base. Radial spines up to 100 (or more), unequal, interlacing, bristly, white or grey, 1-5 mm long.
- Mammillaria herrerae f. cristata hort.: Crested form.
- Mammillaria herrerae f. monstuosa hort.: monstrous form.
Bibliography: Major references and further lectures
1) Edward Anderson “The Cactus family” Timber Press, Incorporated, 2001
2) James Cullen, Sabina G. Knees, H. Suzanne Cubey "The European Garden Flora Flowering Plants: A Manual for the Identification of Plants Cultivated in Europe, Both Out-of-Doors and Under Glass" Cambridge University Press, 11/Aug/2011
2) David R Hunt; Nigel P Taylor; Graham Charles; International Cactaceae Systematics Group. "The New Cactus Lexicon" dh books, 2006
3) John Pilbeam “Mammillaria: the cactus file handbook” Cirio Publishing Services Ltd Dec/30,/1999
Cultivation and Propagation: It regarded as a choice and difficult plant and grows quite slowly. It is usually seen as a grafted plant but can grow on its own roots too.
Soil: Use mineral well permeable mineral soil with little organic matter (peat, humus).
Exposure: They need a good amount of light shade to full sun this help to keep the plants healthy, although slow growth.
Watering: Water sparingly from March till October (weekly during summertime, if the weather is sunny enough) , with a little fertilizer added. Less or no water during cold winter months, or when night temperatures remain below 10° to prevent root loss. It is sensitive to overwatering (rot prone).
Fertilization: Feeding may not be necessary at all if the compost is fresh then, feed in summer only if the plant hasn't been repotted recently. Do not feed the plants from September onwards as this can cause lush growth which can be fatal during the darker cold months.
Hardiness: Keep perfectly dry in winter at temperatures from 5 to 15 degrees centigrade. (but it is relatively cold resistant and hardy to -5° C, or possibly colder for short periods) In the rest period no high atmospheric humidity!! (Temperature Zone: USDA 9-11)
Crested growth: Unlike 'monstrose' varieties of plants, where the variation from normal growth is due to genetic mutation, crested growth can occur on normal plants. Sometimes it's due to variances in light intensity, or damage, but generally the causes are unknown. A crested plant may have some areas growing normally, and a cresting plant that looks like a brain, may revert to normal growth for no apparent reason. If you have any of the crested part left you need to remove the normal growth and leave the crested part behind this will need to be done regularly.
Propagation: Grafting or cuttings. Plants are usually grafted onto column-shaped cacti but proved to be able to produce their own roots if degrafted. Cuttings will take root in a minimum temperature of 20° C (but better in hot weather). Cuttings of healthy shoots can be taken in the spring and summer. Cut the stem with a sharp, sterile knife, leave the cutting in a warm, dry place for a week or weeks (depending on how thick the cutting is) until a callus forms over the wound. Once the callus forms, the cutting may be inserted in a container filled with firmed cactus potting mix topped with a surface layer of coarse grit. They should be placed in the coarse grit only; this prevents the cut end from becoming too wet and allows the roots to penetrate the rich compost underneath. The cuttings should root in 2 to 6 weeks. Large crested piece must be placed on the soil surface without burying the plant base down in the soil.
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