Old Woman Cactus Facts
- Old Woman Cactus forms the common name for the rather surprising species named Mammillaria hahniana.
- This plant remains commonly known as the Old Woman Cactus due to the presence of the grayish hairs.
- These serve to protect it from the harsh sun common to its native habitat.
- This species represents only one of the more than 500 found in the region.
- Naturally occurring populations of this cactus still list as Near Threatened with the IUCN.
- Propagation of this species by commercial nurseries has greatly reduced the demand for plants illegally collected from naturally occurring populations, however.
Old Woman Cactus Physical Description
The remarkable Old Woman Cactus represents a succulent that grows well in either direct sun or partial shade. In addition to the white hairs from which its name derives, the plant produces small flowers.
These typically display a dark pink color, and the funnel-shaped blooms usually grow in a circular pattern. This cactus generally blooms in late Spring and early Summer.
The flowers serve as precursors to the production of small red berries. The globe-shaped species attains an average diameter of about 8 in (20 cm). It most commonly develops in groups or clusters.
Species: M. hahniana
Old Woman Cactus Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology
The visually distinctive Old Woman Cactus evolved as endemic only to the Mexican state of Guanajuato. Mexico remains an important center of diversity for the Cactaceae family.
Like most related species, its natural habitat consists of dry, arid regions, with relatively poor soil and high heat conditions.
The raised tubercules store comparatively vast quantities of water from the sporadic rainfall in its native habitat.
It also does not long survive under wet conditions. Therefore, though it has become popular in cultivation, care must be taken