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Accepted Scientific Name: Mammillaria angelensis R.T.Craig
Mammill. Handbook 165 (fig. 146). 1945 R.T.Craig
Origin and Habitat: Mammillaria angelensis cames from Angel de la Guarda and Ventana Islands, and the region of Bahia de Los Angeles on the Baja California Peninsula, Mexico.
Altitude range: It can be found close to sea level near sea level to 300 metres.
Habitat and ecology: Rocky hillsides and gravelly slopes, Lower Sonoran Zone. It is threatened by habitat loss and collection of plants for horticulture.
ENGLISH: Strawberry Cactus
SPANISH (Español): Biznaga Llavina
UKRAINIAN (Українська): Мамілярія ангеленсіс
Description: Mammillaria angelensis is a small columnar cactus usually simple, sometimes clustering with white radial spines and dark brown hooked centrals. The flowers re white or pink with darker midviens. Do not confound with Mammillaria san-angelensis, a different rare specie native from close to the city of Mexico.
Derivation of specific name: The name comes from an island off Lower California which is its habitat.
Stems: Globose to short cylindrical, 10-15 cm high and 5-6 cm in diameter, without latex.
Tubercles: Conical, terete in cross section, slightly keeled centrally, 8-9 mm. long, 6-7 mm. wide at base, blue green to olive-green, in 8 and 13 spirals, juice watery.
Axil: Densely white-woolly and with 15-20 tortuous white bristles to 10 mm long.
Radial spine: 16 - 20, needle-like, straight, smooth, stiff, white or somewhat tan at tip , 5 - 10 mm long, nearly horizontal except in youth when ascending.
Central spine: 3 - 4, straight, purplish brown with lighter base, 8-15 mm long, lower one hooked and longer than others, all dull purplish brown or lighter at base, hooked one porrect, others spreading and not easily distinguished from radials.
Flower: Up to 20 mm long and 30 mm in diameter. Outer perianth segments linear, obtuse and short-ciliate at apex. There are distinctly two colour forms recorded, the first, as originally described is white, with pinkish midstrips at the tips of the outer petals, often narrow and quite widely separated; the second form is much more deeply coloured, with deep pink petals and maroon midstripe, stigma-lobes on both forms are yellowish olive-green. Filaments white.
Blooming season: In Cultivation (Europe) from Arpil to July. In Habitat from March to April.
Fruits: Clavate, red.
Seed: Black, minutely pitted.
Taxonomy note: Mammillaria angelensis, Craig (Mammillaria handbook, 165, fig. 146, 1945), belongs to the Mammillaria dioica complex, and distinctions from M. dioica are not clear. M. angelensis is described and is shown in Craig's figure as having narrower perianth segments, but other plants of the Angel de la Guarda island have segments as in typical M. dioica. For his collection from Arroyo Estatón, George Lindsay noted that flowers were variable, from small to 3 cm long, with perianth segments from white with pale pink midstripe to deep pink with maroon midstripe. Both them may refer to one species.
Bibliography: Major references and further lectures.
1) Forrest Shreve, Ira Loren Wiggins “Vegetation and Flora of the Sonoran Desert” Volume 1 Stanford University Press, 1964
2) Wikipedia contributors. "Mammillaria angelensis." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 8 Mar. 2013. Web. 1 Nov. 2014.
3) Robert T. Craig “The Mammillaria handbook: with descriptions, illustrations, and key to the species of the genus Mammillaria of the Cactaceae” E P Publishing, 1945
4) John Pilbeam “Mammillaria The Cactus File Handbook” Cirio Pub. Services, 01/Dec/1999Edward Anderson “The Cactus family” Timber Press, Incorporated, 2001
5) 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
6) David R Hunt; Nigel P Taylor; Graham Charles; International Cactaceae Systematics Group. "The New Cactus Lexicon" dh books, 2006
7) Ted J. Case, Martin L. Cody “Island Biogeography in the Sea of Cortéz” University of California Press, 01/Jan/1983
Chilita angelensis (Mammillaria angelensis) Photo by: Viviana Alejandra Castro
The gallery now contains thousands of pictures, however it is possible to do even more. We are, of course, seeking photos of species not yet shown in the gallery but not only that, we are also looking for better pictures than those already present. Read More...
Cultivation and Propagation: Mammillaria angelensis is somewhat difficult to cultivate. During the summer it is best to keep the plants outside where the temperature can rise to over 30° C with no harm to the plant, recommended for any collection that needs lots of light with ample airflow.
Growth rate: It is a small growing, but easily flowering species. It takes several years to offset, but once it starts it can fill a 25 cm pot in just a few years given the best conditions.
Soils: Use a an open and free draining mineral compost with little organic matter (peat, humus) that allows therefore roots to breath (as it is rot prone).
Repotting: Repotting every 2-3 years. As it is especially prone to rot under-pot in a smaller container filled with very porous compost. Use pot with good drainage.
Watering: It likes a winter's rest and should be kept almost completely dry during the winter months, If the soil is allowed to be dry for too long root loss could follow but equally the same result would occur if the plants are both wet and cold. From March onwards the plant will begin to grow and watering should be increased gradually until late May when the plant should be in full growth. Water regularly during the summer so long as the plant pot is allowed to drain and not sit in a tray of water. During hot weather you may need to water the plants more frequently so long as the plant is actively growing. From late September watering should be reduced to force the plant to go in to a state of semi dormancy, by October you should be back in to the winter watering regime. 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: 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: Grown specimens resist to -4°C for a short time, but it is best to keep above 5° C to avoid ugly spots on the plant epidermis. Some warmth throughout the year will increase the grower's success.
Exposition: Need full sun avoiding only the harshest summer sun, if kept too dark they may become overly lush and greener and could be prone to rotting due to over watering. Tends to bronze in strong light, which encourages flowering and heavy wool and 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.
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: Direct sow after last frost. (seldom produces offsets)
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. Cuttings: wait until the offsets that appear at the base of old clustered specimens are 1/3 the size of the parent and then detach and plant. 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.
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