joebowman.scienceblog.com – Mammillaria or the nipple cactus is one of the most popular of all cacti genera. Named for the characteristically pronounced tubercles, mammillaria as a genus are globose to barrel shaped either solitary or clustering and branching to trailing. Many species have latex sap and typically dense spination. Geographic distribution varies from the northern states of Mexico throughout significant portions of the southwestern United States. Plants are notable for their heat tolerance.
Forming a crown around the plant flowers bloom throughout the summertime. Colors ranging from light yellow to dark magenta with some species having a midstripe running laterally down the petals. Flowers are highly variable but are typically small and cup shaped.
Many species of the genus mammillaria are self-fertile. Fruit develops within the body of the cactus and is long and slender to club shaped. Waxy greenish but typically red skinned fleshy fruit with heavy mucilage making quick extraction of the seeds rather challenging. Seeds vary in shape and color between species and are very small usually in the range of 1 mm.
Photographs by Joe Bowman