Description: M. luethyi is a very tiny plant,
but by far one of the most spectacular members of its genus,
distinctive when not in flower because of the 'spination' (if it can
be called that!) at the tips of the tubercles, and even more
magnificent in flower. It is solitary or branching in several stems,
mostly beneathe the ground. Growth Habits: Solitary or clustering.
Stem: 1.5 cm in diameter (Up to 4 cm in cultivation) ,
flattened sub-globose, very dark-green almost black.
Tubercle:Dense, erect, slender, cylindrical. The axil is slightly
Spines: Short, minuscule, as many
as 80, soft and white, not prickly, in
several series, erect to radiating, forming a dense, flattened
cluster 1-2 mm in diameter
Roots: Fleshy tap root, largely exceeding the dimension of the
Flowers: Large, 15-25 cm wide and
long, rich magenta with a white throat.
Fruits: 4 to 5 mm in diameter, sunken in the stem, globose,
yellow-green to reddish-green.
Notes: This plant had long been
known from a lone photograph by Boke, published by Bravo & Sanchez
Mejorada, of a cultivated plant of unknown origin. It was rediscovered
in habitat in 1996 by George Hinton and Jonas Luethy, and published by
Hinton in January 1996.
It is a tiny plant of slow growth, for this reason it is often seen
to enhance growth speed,
as most of the available stock has so far been propagated this way.
Grafted plants grow fast,
branch profusely and are very
But it is relatively easy to cultivate plants on their own roots and
no special care required, at least given the same care with drainage and
watering that is afforded to other species of Mammillaria with
fleshy roots. Needs good drainage and regular water in summer. It
should be dried out completely for its winter rest when it will
withstand temperatures down to to -4°C for short periods.
The luethyi needs
which will help to maintain the lustre of the spines and plants compact. Poorer
produce a green anaesthetic plant with open, far and wide spaced
mealy bug and
red spider mite.
Propagation: Seeds (rarely available) or by offshoot. Older specimens may
branch around the base, so they can be propagated by cuttings in
root relatively well but plants on their own roots are quite slow.
Plants are sometimes grafted onto column-shaped cacti, which is a much
easier way of propagation than sowing.