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Mammillaria (Variegated)

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We are talking about the most widespread genus and richest in species within the family of Cactaceae, whose name comes from the Greek and was attributed by Haworth, in reference to the thick tubercles with an appearance similar to female breasts. It groups more than 150 different species, therefore there will be plants morphologically different from each other, from small and perfectly spherical bodies, to columnar ones which can reach some tens of centimeters, from thick very short spines, to very long and decorative spines, from solitary bodies to strongly clustered ones. However, they are easily recognizable for some predominant peculiarities: on the one hand, they are among the few cacti that do not have ribs, but are completely covered only by tubercles arranged in a sort of spiral; on the other hand, their bright funnel-shaped flowers gather in a ring around the apex of the cactus, almost crowning it with the most varied colors and sizes. Mammillaria is part of the large group of "desert plants", in other words cacti which, being native to arid areas, are better accustomed than others to survive any extreme situation, from torrid heat to frost; in order to succeed in this "mission", its body has adapted by storing water and avoiding releasing it thanks to the leaves which have turned into spines. Some curiosities: the milk present in some species is used by the people of their native places to cure deafness or serious otitis!It is not a coincidence, then, that these cacti are so popular and appreciated by collectors, for their resistance, as well as for their highly ornamental aesthetics and long pleasant blooms, a symbol of perseverance and enduring love!