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  Notocactus mammulosus
(Syn: Parodia mammulosa)


Parodia mammullosa ssp. mammulosa


Description: Parodia mammulosa (sensu lato) is a usually solitary cactus more or less covered by interlacing spines.
Stem: Globose, that elongates to a height of 5-10 cm and a diameter of  7-13cm with a depressed, spineless apex. The epidermis is shiny, greysh-green to dark green,.
Ribs: 18 to 20(-25) straight, well distinct,  with prominent, rounded tubercles with chinlike protrusion.
Areoles: Small or large  deeply embedded between the tubercles and set about 5 mm apart.
Radial spines: 8 to 30 slender whitish to brownish, needlelike, usually less than 10 mm long.
Central spines: 1-4 (or more) up to 20 mm long, not easily distinguishable from the radials, usually flattish, thicker, straight  and more than twice as long white, yellow to brown with a brown tip, one usually flattened.
Flowers: Pale pink to golden yellow beautifully emphasized by the purplish/red stigma lobes, 4 cm in diameter, with a short tube covered with white wool and brown bristles.
Fruits: Globose, elongating at maturity, thin walled.
Seeds: Bell to helmet shaped, with obvious corky hilum, matte brown.

Remarks:  Parodia (Notocactus) mammulosa  are among the the most wide-spread of the Parodia species and are very variable in appearance. The P. mammulosa complex comprises lots of names and lots of different population. Plants may differs considerably about the form and arrangement of the spines, stems, ribs and flowers colour with unclear morphological limits between the different forms.

Recognized subspecies, varieties and forms:

Parodia mammullosa ssp. mammulosa Plants have 18-25 ribs, 2-4 central spines and 20-30 radials It is widely distributed in Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina.
Parodia mammullosa ssp. brasilensis They have about 15 ribs, 1 central spine, 8-10 radials, it occur near Santos, Brasil.
Parodia mammullosa ssp. erythracantha They have about 16 ribs, 2 central spines and 10-14 radials it occour in Tacuarembo, Uruguay.

Parodia mammullosa ssp. submammullosa
These plants have the fewest number of ribs (about 13), about 6 radial spines spreading out horizontally, and two long and flat central spines, of which one longer and pointing down, and another a bit shorter and pointing up, with a slender groove along their lower part. Spines are yellow with a brown tip, the largest having a red base when young, later turning gray.). It occours in Uruguai and argentina..

Cultivation: This is an easy plant to cultivate.  It require a mineral-based potting mix with a good drainage. Can support quite some water during the growing season but pot plants in winter are wet-sensitive and needs to be kept dry  (rots easily if soil is wet and cold). Usually it is recommended to over-winter this plant in a bright and warm greenhouse with at least 8-10 C , but it has proved to tolerate temperatures as  low as  -5 C for short periods.  
Sun Exposure: Light shade to full sun but doesn't like full, hot blazing sun in the central summer month.
Propagation: Seeds, cuttings.
Not too difficult to raise from seed.

Photo of conspecific taxa, varieties, forms and cultivars of plants belonging to the Parodia (Notocactus) mammullosa complex (This Taxon has lots of synonyms whit several controversial varieties and subspecies and comprises a multitude of different forms, but where each form is linked to others by populations of plants with intermediate characteristics):

Family: Cactaceae (Cactus Family)

Scientific name:  Notocactus mammulosus  (Lemaire) A.Berger 1929.

Nowadays regarded as: Parodia mammulosa (Lemaire) N. P. Taylor 1987

Taxonomy: Tribe: Cacteae  subtribe: Echinocactinae

OriginParodia mammulosa is distributed throughout southern Brazil, Uruguay and northern Argentina

Conservation status: Listed in CITES appendix 2.

Common Names include: Tom Thumb, Lemon Ball.

Etymology: The name 'mammulosus' refers to having many visible nipples.


  • Echinocactus mammulosus Lemaire 1838
  • Malacocarpus mammulosus (Lemaire) Britton & Rose 1922
  • Notocactus mammulosus (Lemaire) A. Berger 1929
  • Ritterocactus mammulosus
  • Notocactus rudibuenekeri var. rudibuenekeri  
  • Parodia rudibuenekeri (W. R. Abraham) Hofacker & P. J. Braun 1998
  • Peronocactus rudibuenekeri (Abraham) Doweld 1999 nom.gen.inval.  
  • Scopacactus rudibuenekeri Abraham (nach Doweld 2000) 
  • Scopacactus rudibuenekeri ssp. rudibuenekeri (nach Doweld 2000) 
  • Notocactus scopa var. longispinus n.n. Lemaire 1838
  • Notocactus scopa var. rudibuenekeri  

Heterotypic synonyms:

  • Notocactus mammulosus var. brasiliensis Havlicek 1980
  • Parodia mammulosa subsp. brasiliensis (Hav.) Hofacker 1980
  • Notocactus megalanthus,
  • Notocactus ritteranus,
  • Notocactus roseoluteus,
  • Notocactus mammulosus var.pampeanus,
  • Notocactus submammulosus var.pampeanus,
  • Echinocactus pampeanus
  • Notocactus pampeanus
  • Notocactus mueller-moelleri
  • Ritterocactus megalanthus
  • Echinocactus hypocrateriformis
  • Notocactus hypocrateriformis
  • Echinocactus floricomus
  • Notocactus floricomus
  • Notocactus cristatoides
  • Notocactus macambarensis



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The Encyclopedia of Cacti