Mammillaria of the Month

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Mammillaria beneckei

Photo Copyright: Chris Davies 2008


Mammillaria beneckei is one of those plants that has been graced with many names, including M. balsasoides, M. balsasensis, M. guiengolensis and Oehmea beneckei. At one stage a number of these names were used in combination with the genus Dolicothele. However it has now been brought back into Mammillaria where it sits in its own subgenus Oehmea, as a result of its floral characteristics.

Its habitats are widespread, along the western side of mainland Mexico, where it has been found in the states of Michoacan, Guerrero, Sinaloa, Colima, Jalisco, Mexico and Oaxaca. It perhaps is not surprising with such a widespread geography that various names have been given as its form does vary as would be expected with such a widespread plant.

In cultivation, as in the wild, it will cluster perhaps rather untidily, the offsets being very easy to detach. But with careful handling at repotting stage, a decent size group can be grown. It tends to need a bit more heat than many of the plants in our greenhouses, and the plant above has repaid being kept at about 10C over winter, with a little water to prevent excessive shrivelling. In spring and summer it enjoys a good watering, more frequently than some, but still must have a very open soil. Then perhaps because of this, it has repaid the attention with a display of short lasting flowers in July in this case, a rich deep butter yellow, almost with a hint of orange.