Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Texas Nipple Cactus (Mammillaria prolifera)

Texas Nipple Cactus
Mammillaria prolifera
(mam-mil-AR-ee-uh) (pro-LEEF-er-uh)

This Cactus was blooming at Wave Hill, this time in the Conservatory. It was in about 14 inch pot and it was loaded with flowers. It also looked very spiny. This one was quite attractive with the mix of the red fruits and the pale yellow flowers. I wouldn’t say that Wave Hill has a huge Cactus collection, far from it, but they do have a nice collection of the smaller growing varieties.

The 300 species of Mammillaria range from the Southwestern United States, Mexico and the Caribbean Islands. There are a few species native to South America also. There seem to be several sub-species under this particular name. There are 2,000 to 3,000 known Cactus species and according to Wikipedia they range in size from “the tallest, Pachycereus pringlei, with a maximum recorded height of 19.2 meters and the smallest, Blossfeldia liliputiana, only about 1 cm diameter at maturity”. I found the Wikipedia page on Cactus interesting and I picked up a few facts that I was unaware of before. Like this part about Cactus flowers, “most of them have numerous sepals (from 5 to 50 or more), and change form from outside to inside, from bracts to petals. They have stamens in great numbers (from 50 to 1,500, rarely fewer)”. Cacti are identified by several characteristics of their flowers. As Mark A Dimmitt says on this website from the The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum: “To be a cactus, the plant must produce flowers with the following characteristics: many tepals (combined sepals and petals) that intergrade with each other; many stamens (usually hundreds), and numerous stigma lobes (rarely only three). If a plant lacks such a flower, it cannot be a cactus.

Well that was an epic rainstorm we had here on Sunday. It rained most of the day Monday but not like Sunday night. I think we ended up with about 8 inches (20.32 cm) of rain. Luckily the winds weren’t as bad as they said. There were several rivers that ran out of their banks and a lot of roads were closed. It was one of the biggest storms to hit this area in a long time. When I went down the big hill I live on there were several cars floating around in the middle of Federal Road. I am going to see what the rain did to the gardens tomorrow. I am ready for a lot of erosion.

Synonyms: Mammillaria prolifera subsp. prolifera, Mammillaria stellaris, Mammillaria pusilla, Neomammillaria prolifera, Chilita prolifera


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Tere said...

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