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Current Photo: CD0373
Available Photos: CD0483 CD0354 CD0373 (click to change photo)
Photographer's Comments: 35mm slide.
Authority: Dietr. 1853
Date Added: 2003-08-13
Entered By: Paul Brunelle
Dolicothele sphaerica (Dietr.) Br.& R. 1923.
Butter Pincushion" is native to Texas and North Mexico. It forms mats of small 1.6cm (5/8") heads with whitish spines and butter-yellow flowers. It is not a particularly beautiful plant or flower type, the flowers being somewhat weakly lemon-coloured, and the groups, about 50cm (20") when they have formed, are low, messy and flat, without any particular attractive shape. However, the plants are very interesting for their peculiar structure in which, as with all Mammillarias, their axils and the flower buds, have moved away from and have modified the areoles at the apex of the tubercles. In Coryphantha, for example, the flower bud has moved with the axil to the end of a small furrow half way above and inward from the areole, In Mammillaria the axil and bud have moved all the way to the base of the tubercle. Obviously, Butter Pincushion, which I planted and cultivated for years as Dolicothele sphaerica, belongs with mammillarias, so the whole genus was sunk into Mammillaria of which Dolicothele has become only a synonym in advanced literature. This is an example of the type of structure that determines the position of a plant in the catalogue of Nature, as interpreted by ourselves, another of her species.