Mammillaria bocasana

This is a popular species of the large genus Mammillaria, ‘Rosea’ which, apart from Opuntia, includes the gratest number of spe cies of all the genera in the family Cactaceae. Hundreds have been described to date, but only about 170 can be counted as valid. These are rather small, spherical cacti that make side shoots freely so that older plants form many-headed clumps. The stem measures about 4-5 cm (lVz-2 inch) and is completely covered with fine, grey-white spines growing from conical tubercles. There are 25-30 very delicate radial spines. A long, central spine, 2 cm long, usually coloured red or brownish, terminates in a hook. The inconspicuous flowers are about 15 mm (0.5 in) long and 10 mm across and coloured pale pink with a central, darker, red stripe on the outer petals. They are always produced in abundance. The more decorative fruits, which may be 3-4 cm (I-IV2 inch) long, are a vivid red, and remain on the plant for a long time. The seeds are brown and glossy. This cactus is a great favourite with novice growers.

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