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Cacti and Other Succulents (Plantfinder's Guides)
So many succulent plants are threatened with extinction that their propagation is an important aspect of the hobby. The popular methods used are to raise plants from seed or take cuttings. In addition, grafting plants can greatly reduce the age at which they will flower, increase the number of flowers and increase the number of offsets produced. For very rare plants, micropropagation can be used to take cells from the growing point of the plant and grow these in laboratory conditions into "proper" plants. Using this technique, Mammillaria hernandezii was grown during the 1980s in sufficient numbers to satisfy demand for the plant in the UK, thus reducing the threat of extinction through over-collection of plants in their natural habitat. The main disadvantage of this and other methods of vegetative reproduction is that the gene pool of plants in cultivation is limited. Raising plants from seed, on the other hand, produces specimens where the genes of both parents are represented in the new plant, thus providing a range of variability within the species. However, unless great care is taken to prevent the introduction of 'foreign' pollen by insects visiting the plants, unintentional hybrids can result.
From Chapter 9, "A-Z Cacti and Other Succulents"
There are still nearly 500 accepted or provisionally accepted species in this genus, despite some very thorough research in recent years. Mammillaria species are among the most popular cacti — many are easy to grow and, as they remain relatively small, rarely outgrow their welcome. Most can be relied upon to produce an abundance of flowers that are followed later by often brightly coloured berries.
Most Mammillaria species are freely offsetting and form large clumps of globular stems, each being 5-10 cm (2-4 in) in diameter. There are, however, many exceptions, with some species — such as Mammillaria matudae, where the 3¼ cm (1¼ in) diameter stem can reach 20-30 cm (8-12 in) in length — forming a snake-like plant that has given rise to the variety name serpentiformis.
Other species remain as solitary stems that over many years can grow to 50 cm (20 in) tall and 30 cm (12 in) across. New species continue to be discovered in Mexico, but are seldom seen in cultivation as the Mexican government has forbidden the export of plants and seed.
This species is named after Theresa Bock who, together with her husband John, discovered the plants on the eastern slopes of the Coneto Mountains in Durango, Mexico, in 1996. It is one of the most distinctive dwarf members in the series Loniflorae and comes from the Sierra Madre Occidental, where it is found only at its type locality.
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