Mammillaria mazatlanensis is a clump forming species from the state of Sinaloa in western Mexico. It has been known since at least 1901, and possibly earlier. It is a quite variable species, with differences in size, colour of spines and whether the central spine is hooked or straight.

22 jan Fig. 1 Custom

Here are two plants from my collection which illustrate that variability. The first is M. mazatlanensis SB703 from the Río Piaxtla in Sinaloa (Fig. 1), and the second was named as M. littoralis and has straight central spines, light brown, the seed coming from De Herdt (Fig. 2).  Various authors have linked it to M. occidentalis, which itself has been submerged into just the type species, so they are now all Mammillaria mazatlanensis. At least that was the case until recently when a significant DNA study removed it from being a Mammillaria and put it, along with others, into an expanded Cochemiea!

22 jan Fig. 2 Custom

Whatever the taxonomy, these plants are relatively easy to grow, providing you give them a gritty compost and enough water in May/June to bring them into flower in late June and July. My compost is ⅓ John Innes No 3, ⅓ volcanic grit, and ⅓ horticultural grit. When in flower they can make a great show, although I have found some forms a bit more reluctant to flower as profusely as the one shown here (Fig. 3).

22 jan Fig. 3 Custom

The flowers, however, when they do appear, in mid-July for the plants shown, are pink with a deeper pink centre. They rarely show much white along the margins of the petals. The stigma is a greenish yellow, and the filaments are yellow, and should fertilisation occur then the fruit can be either red or green.

Chris Davies

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