Date: 2003 April 18
The existence of this Mammillaria had been known for some time, but only relatively recently has it entered cultivation.
Although I saw the plant in cultivation in its native Mexico in 1996, I refused to buy a cultivated specimen for some time, knowing that none had been legally exported from Mexico.
I finally relented in 2002 when Jonas Luethy, for whom the plant is named, told me that he had finally been given one, and thought that he must be among the last Mammillaria enthusiasts to acquire one.
So here it is. The plant is grafted, as most of the available stock has so
far been propagated this way. It remains 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
The plant had long been known from a lone photograph by Boke, published by Bravo & Sanchez Mejorada, of a cultivated plant of unknown origin. Backeberg, in his Cactus Lexicon, only having seen the photograph, thought it might be referable to Neogomesia.
It was rediscovered in habitat in 1996 by George Hinton and Jonas Luethy,
and published by Hinton in Phytologia, January 1996. This
publication must not have emerged until much later than this date,
as the article refers to finding the plant in Northern Coahuila
on May 19 1996.
Date: 2003 April 20
Although the cultivated plants on sale supposedly originate from vegetative propagation from more than one original plant, and therefore might be expected to be capable of cross-pollination to produce seed, I have not yet heard of anyone raising the plants from seed.
I would expect that it should be possible to cultivate plants on their
own roots, at least given the same care with drainage and watering that
is afforded other species of Mammillaria with fleshy roots.