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Mammillaria bokasana

Mammillaria bokasana, mammilaria bokasskaya (Mammillaria bocasana) gained wide popularity shortly after the description of this Mexican species in 1853 and for 150 years it has enjoyed the sympathy of cactusists and all indoor floriculture lovers. The soft spherical stems of this cactus are covered with small cylindrical tubercles. At the apex of each of them there are 1-2 hook-shaped reddish spines surrounded by a dense bundle of white thin hairs. The length of the hairs is up to 2 cm, and their number in a bundle can reach 50. Thanks to them, the whole plant turns into a white, airy-fluffy ball, reminiscent of a dandelion. In nature, the stem does not exceed 5 cm in diameter, but in culture it can be noticeably larger. Already at an early age, this mammillaria has lateral processes, which over time form a pretty "shaggy" jacket. Closer to the top of the cactus, from early spring to autumn, graceful flowers up to 2 cm long bloom in several waves. The flower tube is hidden deep between the tubercles and hairs, so only wide-opening pointed petals are visible. The "classic" shape has almost white petals, with a pale pink longitudinal stripe in the middle.

Mammillaria Bokasana MultilanataMammillaria Bocasana Rosea
Mammillaria Bokasana

Mammillaria bokasana grows well in culture, blooms easily and multiplies quickly, so it quickly became common among amateur flower growers, and "serious" collectors gradually lost interest in it. True, nevertheless, sometimes it can be found in the exquisite collections of "cactus snobs" - this "simple" mammillaria is very good.

Experts notice a noticeable natural variability of the bokasan mammillaria. Different specimens of the species differ from each other in the number and length of hairs, development and color of central spines, color of flowers (from cream to pink). But most of these variations are of little practical interest. Of the several forms known in the past, in modern cactus cultivation, perhaps only Mammillaria bokasana "Slendens"(Splendens)... This name refers to plants with especially thin and long hairs and yellowish central spines (sometimes they are absent altogether). The form has no botanical description, hardly represents a separate natural population, and certainly does not deserve an independent taxonomic rank. Therefore, it is probably more correct to write this name, which has appeared since the beginning of the last century in the catalogs, mainly of European cactus-growing companies, as a varietal one.

An even more remarkable aberration can be found in a culture called Mammillaria bokasana "Multilanata"(Multilanata), in which the central spines are poorly developed, and the radial hairs are especially numerous, thin, like down, thick and curled.

The most famous cultivar is the red-flowered hybrid. The famous German cactologist Walter Hage and his wife Lotta worked on its breeding for a quarter of a century. In order to get a snow-white fluffy shape with bright flowers, they crossed the bokasana mammillaria with red-flowered species, in particular, with Mammillaria glochidiata(Mammillaria glochidiata)... When the desired result was achieved, the name “Mammillaria bocasana hybr. Rosea "... It is curious that in its widely known reference book «Kakteen von A bis Z "(1981) V. Hage describes this form, leaving it unnamed. Meanwhile, it can obviously be called Mammillaria bocasana "Rosea "... Plant varieties from their natural ancestors «Rosea " They are distinguished by intense color of flowers - from deep pink to violet-red. The form with pale pink flowers is very often on sale in cactus mixes. Apparently, this is the result of commercial hybridization of the classic cultivar «Rosea ".

Mammillaria EschauzieriMammillaria Bokasana Slendens
Mammillaria Bocasana Fred

Finally, there is an amazing form of monstrously growing cactus, practically devoid of thorns and hairs, fleshy, soft, light green, densely covered with toad warts.If you can imagine something completely different from the beautiful Mammillaria bokasana, then this is exactly the described form. In Czech collections, it was distributed under a catalog number; in recent years has appeared among our collectors, but already under the varietal name «Fred "... Like other morphological deformities (comb, rocky, chlorophyll-free), it is often grown on a rootstock.

More recently, a variegated clone of Bokasan mammillaria with a yellow-green stem partially devoid of chlorophyll, bred by the Tkachenko spouses from the Krasnodar Territory, has appeared. As befits a chlorophyll-free cactus, it can only grow grafted. Its yellow and red-flowered variations are known. This form is rather curious as an illustration of the range of variability of the species, its decorative and collectible value is questionable. True, among cactus growers, passions have already flared up about the priority of one of the two varietal names proposed for her.

The number of forms of bokasan mammillaria found in culture has recently increased, since botanists attributed this species to the rank of a subspecies mammillaria eshauzieri(Mammillaria eschauzieri)... This plant is little known among amateurs. Outwardly, it looks like a typical bokasana mammillaria with sparser fine hairs, but it does not look so impressive and elegant at all. One of its forms is now considered to be a previously independent species. mammillariaknebeliana (Mammillaria knebeliana). She has yellowish flowers and more central spines (usually 4, but sometimes up to 7).

Most of the other names proposed in the past for various minor variations of the bokasana mammillaria are now firmly forgotten. However, in culture you can still find plants with names Mammillaria kunzeana, Mammillaria hirsute, Mammillaria longicoma... These are all synonyms. Mammillaria bocasana ssp. eschauzieri, and the plants do not have any significant differences from the Escaucieri mammillaria proper.

D. Semenov,

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