Family: Cactaceae
Habitat: Central and northern Mexico and Texas
Cultivation: Avoid direct sunlight and place the plant under partial or total shade. Summer watering needs to be abundant but not frequent (1-2 times a week), while in winter it is completely suspended.
Curiosity: The name comes from dolichos (long) and thele (nipple) and refers to the tubercles that come out from the stem of the plant, they are much more accentuated than other cactaceae.


Dolichothele is not a gender in itself , but a subgenre of the Mammillaria genus: in the next section, many varieties are indicated with both names. It is a globular cactaceae, mostly of small size, easy to recognize compared to other mammillary. It has got, in fact, these aesthetic features:

  • From the stem a series of very pronounced tubercles come out and quite distant from each other (the name of the plant refers to these very obvious cones).
  • At the top of each tubercle there is an area with a series of radial thorns and, in many varieties, also central.

The color and thickness of the thorns can vary a lot. Flowers, on the other hand, are quite large in relation to the plant (about 6 cm), they are yellow or white, have the shape of a funnel with large, long narrow petals. They mostly appear on the top of the stems. Each plant has two blooms, one at the beginning of spring and one at the end of the summer. Another feature of this subgenus is the presence of very large and fleshy roots, especially in adult plants. For this reason, large but mostly deep vases are needed.


To Dolichothele subgenus belong plants coming from Texas and Mexico.

These are the varieties recognized today:

  • Mammillaria baumii
  • M. carretii
  • M. longimamma
  • M. melaleuca
  • M. paulii
  • M. sphaerica
  • M. surculosa
  • Dolichothele albescens (synonym di Mammillaria decipiens)
  • D. balsasoides (synonym of M. beneckei)
  • D. baumii (synonym of M. baumii)
  • D. beneckei (synonym of M. beneckei)
  • D. camptotricha (synonym of M. decipiens ssp. camptotricha)
  • D. carretii ( synonym ofM. carretii )
  • D. decipiens (synonym of M. decipiens)
  • D. longimamma (synonym of M. longimamma)
  • D. melaleuca (synonym of M. melaleuca)
  • D. nelsonii ( synonym of M. beneckei)
  • D. sphaerica (synonym of ( M. sphaerica )
  • D. surculosa (synonym of M. surculosa)
  • D. uberiformis (synonym of M. longimamma)
  • D. zephyranthoides (synonym of M. zephyranthoides)

 The Dolichothele longimamma is one of the most common. In this species the characteristic tuberles is even more pronounced and gives the plant almost the appearance of a star.


  • The Dolichotheles are easy to cultivate either in the apartment and in the greenhouse, like all the Mammillarie. Let’s look at the main cares together.
  • Ideal exposure is partially shaded or full shaded. If the direct sun kicks for a few hours a day, make sure they are not the hottest ones.
  • The temperature should remain above 6 ° C. It is therefore advisable to put the plant under shelter at the first cold warning.
  • Water abundantly 1-2 times a week in spring and summer, then decrease gradually and stop completely during the winter. Like all the cactacees, pay close attention to the stagnation of water: between a watering and the other the ground must be able to  dry completely.
  • For fertilization choose a specific product for succulent, rich in potassium but poor in nitrogen and proceed every 15 days by mixing the fertilizer with the water of the watering.
  • The soil must be sandy and draining.
  • During the repot, be careful not to damage the root.
  • For plant propagation, we usually use seed – which must be planted in sandy and humid soil. Sometimes the suckers come out at the base of the plant, which can be picked up and used as a cuttings with excellent results.

Official Web Site:

Italian Blog:

Recommended Posts

Start typing and press Enter to search