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Accepted Scientific Name: Mammillaria knippeliana Quehl
Monatsschr. Kakteenk. 17: 59. 1907 (sphalm. knipelliana)
Origin and Habitat: This species is endemic to Mexico, it is known from the state of Morelos (near San Rafael)
Altitude: 1100-1300 metres above sea level.
Habitat and Ecology: It occurs in rocky ground with lots of humus in semiarid regions where the vegetation is dominated by xerophyllous elements together with-1961b, Pachycereus grandis, Opuntia atropes, Stenocereus dumortieri, Stenocereus beneckei. This is a poorly known taxon, no information exist on its population size and trend, or on the threats affecting it.
Description: Mammillaria knippeliana firtly described from cultivated plants without flower, fruit or seed and is a poorly known taxon which may not be a good species.
Note: Not classified by Pilbeam, provisionally accepted by Hunt. It appears to be closely related to Mammillaria nejapensis, Mammillaria beiselli and Mammillaria tropica.
Habit: Solitary, or later becoming branched, sometimes forked (divided dichotomously).
Stem: about 7 cm high by 6 cm in diameter, rounded above, sparingly woolly at apex which is slightly depressed.
Tubercles: When young pyramidal, 4-sided, rounded dorsally, 8 mm long and 5 mm wide at base, lactiferous. Tubercles arrangement 13 and 21.
Axils: Setose with sparce white bristles.
Areoles: circular, at first white-woolly, soon glabrate.
Radial spines: 4 to 8 (Usually 6), mostly 3 - 10 mm long, occasianally up to 3 cm long, all spreading, straight, stiff, smooth, whitish with blood-red or brown tips, the lowest and the uppermost the longest, acicular, ascending, sometimes accompanied with smaller spines.
Central spine: None.
Flowers: Funnelform, in a ring around the sides at the top of the stem, typically 15 mm long and 10 mm in diameter, yellowish white with reddish-brown tips. Outer segments red with yellow margins inner straw yellow with red midstripe, innermost straw yellow with red tip, stigmas pale green. Selfsterile.
Blooming season: Spring for up to three month although the numbers of flowers will gradually diminish.
Fruit: Club-shaped, carmine, 15 mm long and 5 - 6 mm wide.
Seed: Dull brown, curved pyriform, 0,9 mm long and 0,6 mm wide. Hilum subbasal.
Bibliography: Major references and further lectures
1) David Hunt, Nigel Taylor “The New Cactus Lexicon” DH Books, 2006
2) John Pilbeam (1999) “Mammillaria The Cactus File Handbook” Nuffield Press.
3) AfM - LBS Lieferung 09/98 Linzen.
4) Goettsch, B.K. 2013. Mammillaria knippeliana. In: IUCN 2013. "IUCN Red List of Threatened Species". Version 2013.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 28 November 2013.
Cultivation and Propagation: Mammillaria knippeliana is an easy-to-grow and easily flowering species, but not a fast grower. Some plants will offset, and moderately large-sized clumps can be produced in a few years.
Water regularly in summer, but do not over-water (rot prone). Use a pot with good drainage and a very porous potting media, and keep dry in winter. Feed with a high potassium fertilizer in summer. Avoid frost. Reputedly sensitive to low temperatures, but less so if kept on the dry side prior to, and during, cold weather. Outside full sun or afternoon shade, inside it needs bright light, and some direct sun. Bright light, encourages flowering and heavy wool and spine production.
Propagation: Direct sow after last frost, or division of larger plants.
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