Habitat: United States, Southern and Northern Mexico
Cultivation: Epithelantha is a little more demanding compared to other cacti; however, it is not particularly difficult to growif you follow a few recommendations: give water sparingly, ensure a bright exposure, fertilize once a month.
Curiosity: This genus is formed by a single species: Epithelantha micromeris, of which exist, however, several varieties. This plants form a single, thorny stem. In their natural environment, however, they form groups: this is probably because the seeds fall close to the mother plant, but it also can be a reproductive strategy to ensure the pollination of the flowers.
Imagine small globes, almost perfect, green but covered with white thorns so that it seems clear when it is seen from a distance, and in summer on the top it shows a tiny red fruit: the charm of Epithelantha is unquestionable.
It is in fact a dwarf cactus with a globular or ovoid shape, which rarely becomes cylindrical with age, with a height that usually goes from 1 to 5 cm, and only exceptionally reaches 10 cm. Its surface is very compact, doesn’t show ribs but is completely covered with whitish thorns that arise from aureoles arranged geometrically .
Its flowers are pink, very small and inconspicuous; anyway they are still valuable because of their delicacy. What is surprising is the fruit, which ripens in the summer, and has the form of a pod and, as we said, is fire-red.
Overall, Ephitelantha is very popular among not only succulent lovers, but also for curious botanists or for those who seek a decorative, tiny plant.
VARIETY AND TYPES
The only one species in the genus Epithelantha is Epithelantha micromeris. In the past it was deemed to be a Mammillaria, but later its peculiarities have suggested a separate classification in a genus of its own.
Here below are a few varieties of Epithelantha micromeris:
- Epithelantha micromeris subsp. bokei
- E. micromeris subsp. greggii
- E. micromeris subsp. pachyrhiza
- E. micromeris subsp. pickisoniae
- E. micromeris subsp. polycephala
- E. micromeris subsp. rufispina
- E. micromeris subsp. unguispina
TIPS FOR GROWING
Epithelanthas are more demanding than other cacti; however, it is not particularly difficult to take care of them if you jus follow a few tips:
- Put it in a bright area, in full sun (but avoid leaving it under the direct light during the hottest hours of the day) or half sun.
- It requires a warm temperature above 25-30 ° C, while in winter it doesn’t tolerate temperatures below 8 ° C. We advise you not to risk with lower temperatures although, in completely dried soil, it might surprise you and survive to short frosts.
- In the summer it needs to be watered once every 7-10 days. However, be careful to wait until the soil is completely dried before each watering.
- A special soil for cacti is suitable for its cultivation. You can fertilize it once a month.
- Plant growth is slow and you will not need to repot it during the first years: this plant remains small.
The Epithelantha micromeris usually reproduces by seed. The single plant is self-fertile, so you can replant the seeds produced by the same plant. In addition to this, also the production of pollens is rather frequent and, as you know if you follow our section, they can be propagated easily also by cutting. In short, you won’t have problems to obtain new plants from your Epithelantha.