The Cactus File Handbook 6: Mammillaria

by John Pilbeam

We are pleased to announce the publication on 24th September 1999 of Mammillaria, the sixth title in the series of limited edition Handbooks covering selected groups of succulent plants.

Mammillaria is undoubtedly the most popular of all the genera in the Family Cactaceae, but this is the first book on the genus to illustrate in full colour every one of the recognised species and variants, and to describe and discuss each of the plants in detail.

The author of the new book is John Pilbeam, a lifelong enthusiast for the genus, and author of many successful books on succulent plants. In this, his largest book to date, John has written about each of the members of the genus Mammillaria in a more comprehensive way than has ever been done before, and through the experience of having visited many of the species in habitat in the USA and Mexico is able to offer invaluable insights into the conditions and natural preferences of the plants.

In addition to the colour photographs of each species and subspecies, there is also a map showing the recorded distribution for each. Distribution maps for all the species of Mammillaria have never before been published; the compilation of these maps has been a major undertaking, and they provide readers with a valuable and unrivalled reference.

The text for each species cites the original description and other major references, and lists the referable synonyms. It discusses in detail the plants' history and classification, and includes a detailed description of the habit, body, spination and flowers. Important observations from habitat are included for many of the species, providing details of their preferred terrain or habitat niche. But perhaps most importantly of all, the author includes a discussion about the individual cultural requirements of each species. This discussion includes information about the ease or difficulty in cultivation of each species, recommendations (where appropriate) for reduced watering, increased drainage, increased exposure to (or protection from) the sun, minimum winter temperatures for sensitive species, and much more. This crucial information has never before been incorporated so extensively in a book covering all the species in a genus, and is sure to be one of the most popular features of this publication with cactus enthusiasts and growers. Also included in the text for each species are detailed lists of the reported habitat localities for each, and a list of referable field collection numbers.

Additional chapters include History of the genus Mammillaria, Classification and distribution, Cultivation, Referred and other superfluous names, and Field collection numbers.

The classification used in the book follows closely that of David Hunt, but also takes into account the published classification of Jonas Lé»·hy and the extensive work on the Series Stylothelae by Fitz and Betty Fitz Maurice.  

The 376-page handbook is illustrated throughout in full-colour, and contains over 400 photographs of the plants in flower, with many of the species illustrated both in habitat and in cultivation.

ISBN: 0 9528302 8 0 ISSN: 1363-5727

376 pages, 185x260mm (Hardbound),
Illustrated in full-colour throughout, with 425 colour photographs and 340 distribution maps.


UK (post free)
.50 Overseas (post free)


Did you know that there is a society for people interested in Mammillaria and allied genera?
Visit The Mammillaria Society web site for more information.

Top of page

Last updated:

Press Inquiries/Webmaster Contact:
Bill Allen

(516) 486-3902
2480 Lawn Drive, #2
East Meadow, NY 11554