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Submitted by: Maria Capaldo

Hooked spine Mammillaria
Mammillaria is one of the larger genera in the Cactus family, and one of the most variable, with some members remaining as solitary columns for their entire lives, some remaining as fingernail size solitary globulars, some straight spined, and some clumped and heavily spined with hooks. Although the hooked spined species give the genus one of its common names, “fishhook cactus”, they are not as often grown as the straight spined species. They are not as friendly either, with the hooks catching on skin and clothes, and pieces of stem coming off, when least expected.

In 2021 As a result of molecular phylogenetic studies of the “mammilloid clade”, some Mammillaria were re classified as Cochemiea. So, the following hooked spine Mammillarias are now in the genus Cochemiea:

Mammillaria alamensis = Cochemiea grahamii
Mammillaria albicans = Cochemiea albicans
Mammillaria angelensis = Cochemiea angelensis
Mammillaria armillata = Cochemiea armillata
Mammillaria barbata = Cochemiea barbata
Mammillaria blossfeldiana = Cochemiea blossfeldiana
Mammillaria boolii = Cochemiea boolii
Mammillaria bullardiana = Cochemiea bullardiana
Mammillaria capensis = Cochemiea capensis
Mammillaria cerralboa = Cochemiea cerralboa
Mammillaria chavezei = Cochemiea viridiflora
Mammillaria dioica = Cochemiea dioica
Mammillaria estebanensis = Cochemiea estebanensis
Mammillaria fordii = Cochemiea dioica
Mammillaria fraileana = Cochemiea fraileana
Mammillaria garessii = Cochemiea barbatabringing
Mammillaria goodrichii = Cochemiea dioica
Mammillaria goodridgei = Cochemiea goodridgei
Mammillaria grahamii = Cochemiea grahamii
Mammillaria gueldemanniana = Cochemiea grahamii
Mammillaria guelzowiana = Cochemiea guelzowiana
Mammillaria guirocobensis = Cochemiea grahamii
Mammillaria hutchisoniana subsp. louisae = Cochemiea hutchisoniana subsp. louisae
Mammillaria hutchisoniana var. bullardiana = Cochemiea bullardiana
Mammillaria inae = Cochemiea grahamii
Mammillaria incerta = Cochemiea dioica
Mammillaria insularis = Cochemiea insularis
Mammillaria littoralis = Cochemiea mazatlanensis
Mammillaria louisae = Cochemiea hutchisoniana subsp. louisae
Mammillaria luthieniae = Cochemiea barbata
Mammillaria mainiae = Cochemiea mainiae
Mammillaria maritima = Cochemiea maritima
Mammillaria marnieriana = Cochemiea grahamii
Mammillaria mazatlanensis = Cochemiea mazatlanensis
Mammillaria melilotiae = Cochemiea barbata
Mammillaria microcarpa subsp. grahamii = Cochemiea grahamii
Mammillaria microcarpa var. auricarpa = Cochemiea grahamii
Mammillaria microcarpa var. milleri = Cochemiea grahamii
Mammillaria milleri = Cochemiea grahamii
Mammillaria morricalii = Cochemiea barbata
Mammillaria neopalmeri = Cochemiea palmeri
Mammillaria neopalmeri = Cochemiea palmeri
Mammillaria oliviae = Cochemiea grahamii
Mammillaria orestera = Cochemiea viridiflora
Mammillaria patonii = Cochemiea mazatlanensis
Mammillaria phellosperma = Cochemiea tetrancistra
Mammillaria phitauiana = Cochemiea phitauiana
Mammillaria pondii = Cochemiea pondii
Mammillaria poselgeri = Cochemiea poselgeri
Mammillaria psendofuscata = Cochemiea dioica
Mammillaria pseudoalamensis = Cochemiea grahamii
Mammillaria radliana = Cochemiea poselgeri
Mammillaria rectispina = Cochemiea blossfeldiana subsp. rectispina
Mammillaria roseana = Cochemiea poselgeri
Mammillaria santaclarensis = Cochemiea barbata
Mammillaria schumannii = Cochemiea schumannii
Mammillaria setispina = Cochemiea setispina
Mammillaria sheldonii = Cochemiea grahamii
Mammillaria slevinii = Cochemiea albicans
Mammillaria swinglei = Cochemiea grahamii
Mammillaria tetrancistra = Cochemiea tetrancistra
Mammillaria thornberi = Cochemiea thornberi
Mammillaria venusta = Cochemiea schumannii
Mammillaria verhaertiana = Cochemiea phitauiana
Mammillaria viridiflora = Cochemiea viridiflora
Mammillaria wilcoxii = Cochemiea wrightii subsp. wilcoxii
Mammillaria wrightii = Cochemiea wrightii
Mammillaria yaquensis = Cochemiea thornberi subsp. yaquensis

But, fear not, those can be entered in February’s Mini Show when Cochemiea will be featured. All hooked spine Mammillaria will be accepted this month if brought in, but as per the rules cannot be shown twice in a year.

The secrets to good growth of Mammillaria are fertilizing with a dilute (1:4) solution with each watering, using a pH of at least 6 during the growing season. Mammillaria prefer strong light, and maintenance of a clean and insect free growing environment. Although most Mammillaria are native to Mexico, some species in the genus can be found from Columbia to Kansas and California. The species from the tropics and warmer areas are rarely tolerant of cold and damp. Those from the drier desert regions are also intolerant of continued damp, but can take considerable cold. Propagation of Hooked Spined Mammillaria is easy. Cuttings can be taken at any time during the growing season (April to early November), left to dry for a few days and replanted in a clean potting mix. Mammillaria are one of the easiest species to grow from seed. The seeds are simply placed on top of a damp potting mix, covered with a light coating of gravel, placed in a plastic bag in bright light, but out of direct sun and allowed to germinate. Germination usually occurs in a week or 10 days. The seedlings can stay in the plastic bag for several weeks until they get large enough to survive unprotected, and should then be removed to a still shaded, but brighter and drier environment. Most will survive, and grow quickly.

Mammillaria bocasana
Mammillaria bocasana
Mammillaria bombycina
Mammillaria bombycina
Mammillaria bombycina
Mammillaria bombycina
Mammillaria crinita subsp. wildii
Mammillaria crinita subsp. wildii
Mammillaria duoformis
Mammillaria duoformis
Mammillaria duwei
Mammillaria duwei
Mammillaria glassii
Mammillaria glassii
Mammillaria rekoi subsp. rekoi
Mammillaria rekoi subsp. rekoi
Mammillaria zeilmanniana
Mammillaria zeilmanniana
Mammillaria zeilmanniana, Light form
Mammillaria zeilmanniana, Light form
[Photo by Groucho]

LATIN LOOKUP – Loquerisne Latine (Do you speak Latin)?

The meanings of latin plant names on this page – from

  • bombycina [bom-BEE-kin-uh]
  • dioica [dy-oh-EE-kuh]
    Male and female flowers on separate plants.
  • Mammillaria [mam-mil-AR-ee-uh]
    Nipple- or teat-like.
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