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Origin and Habitat: Mexico (Hidalgo)
Description: Stenocactus wippermannii (Formerly known as Echinofossulocactus lamellosus) is one of the many geographical form of the widespread and morphologically variable Stenocactus crispatus. Many of its morphological and geographical variant was early classified as different independent species, but nowadays all this plant are considered part of a multiform species, where each form is linked to others by populations of plants with intermediate characteristics. The name Stenocactus wippermannii is used to indicate plant crowded with long central spines the the upper one of which more or less flat pressed, weakly curved, milky-white with almost blackish-brown base, but similar plants are commonly found in other populations and under other names, and to all intents and purposes it is a synonym of Stenocactus crispatus. The plants in cultivation are quite variable. This is one of the Echinofossulocactus with the prettiest spination.
Habit: Stenocactus wippermannii, is a solitary perennial stem succulent.
Stem: Spherically to elongated, up to 15 cm highly, dark-green.
Ribs: (25 -) 35 (-40), weakly wavy.
Radial spines: up to 18-22, sharp, white, up to (the lowest) 1,5 cm long.
Central spines: 3 awl-like, 2-6 cm long, the upper one almost round or more or less flat pressed and weakly curved, the lowers approximately straight, milky-white with almost blackish-brown base.
Flowers: 1,5 cm long, white (or yellow) with purple or brownish midstrip.
Subspecies, varieties, forms and cultivars of plants belonging to the Stenocactus crispatus group-complex
- Stenocactus anfractuosus (Mart. ex Pfeiff.) A.Berger: ( Stenocactus crispatus ? ) The plant found in cultivation are quite variable, and the dissimilarity among seedlings spination may be considerable.
- Stenocactus arrigens (Link ex A.Dietr.) A.Berger: The ribs are thin with very undulated or curled ridges. The plant found in cultivation are quite variable (same as Stenocactus crispatus)
- Stenocactus arrigens f. cristatus hort.: Crested form.
- Stenocactus confusus (Britton & Rose) F.M.Knuth in Backeb. & F.M.Knuth
- Stenocactus crispatus (DC.) A.Berger: It is a solitary plant closely covered with long spines and wavy ribs. This is a very variable species that now includes many form (previously considered independent species) with one form intergrading into another, creating a taxonomig nightmare.
- Stenocactus crispatus f. cristatus hort.: crested form.
- Stenocactus dichroacanthus (Mart. ex Pfeiff.) A.Berger ex Backeb. & F.M.Knuth
- Stenocactus fasciculatus hort.: Branched (or solitary) plant, up to 20 cm tall, 10 cm wide with long spines and wavy ribs. Cultivated form.
- Stenocactus gladiatus (Link & Otto) A.Berger ex Backeb. & F.M.Knuth: This plant is characterized by large, wide and flat sword-shaped central spines.
- Stenocactus grandicornis (Lem.) A.Berger ex Backeb. & F.M.Knuth: has very long flattened central spines.
- Stenocactus guerraianus (Backeb.) nov. comb. ined.: Globular, to 20 cm broad, dark-green with woolly apex. Spine are flattened, ferocious-looking with one very long milk-white central spine directed upwards.
- Stenocactus guerraianus f. cristatus: The crested form deviate considerably from the typical form for having thinner and densely packaged spines, however the overall appearance depend on clones.
- Stenocactus hastatus (Hopffer ex K.Schum.) A.Berger: Solitary cactus with long rigid and sharp spines. The plants in cultivation are quite variable.
- Stenocactus kellerianus hort.: The upper spine spines are long flat and straight.
- Stenocactus lamellosus (A.Dietr.) A.Berger: Solitary plant crowded with long spines and many wavy ribs.
- Stenocactus longispinus hort.: has very long spines. Cultivated form.
- Stenocactus violaciflorus (Quehl) A.Berger: Up to 20 cm tall, 10 cm wide with very long spines and wavy ribs. The ribs are thin with very undulated or curled ridges. Flowers pink-violet.
- Stenocactus wippermannii (Muehlenpf.) A.Berger: Up to 15 cm highly with about 35 ribs, weakly wavy. Radial spines: up to 18-22, sharp, white. Central spines: 3 awl-like, 2-6 cm long, the upper one more or less flat pressed and weakly curved milky-white with almost blackish-brown base
- Stenocactus xiphacanthus (Miq.) hort., nov. comb. ined.: ( Stenocactus crispatus ? ) "xiphacanthus" is an unclear name applied to variuos Stenocactus in cultivation. This plants are characterized by flattened (Sword-shaped), ferocious-looking spines with one long central spine directed upwards.
Bibliography: Major references and further lectures
1) Friedrich Ritter “Kakteen in Südamerika Ergebnisse meiner 20jährigen Feldforschungen: Volume 4: Peru” 1981
2) Edward Anderson “The Cactus family” Timber Press, Incorporated, 2001
3) James Cullen, Sabina G. Knees, H. Suzanne Cubey "The European Garden Flora Flowering Plants: A Manual for the Identification of Plants Cultivated in Europe, Both Out-of-Doors and Under Glass" Cambridge University Press, 11/Aug/2011
4) David R Hunt; Nigel P Taylor; Graham Charles; International Cactaceae Systematics Group. "The New Cactus Lexicon" dh books, 2006
5) Hans Hecht “Cacti & succulents” Sterling Pub. Co., 1997
6) Walther Haage "Kakteen von A bis Z" , Quelle & Meyer Verlag: Heidelberg, 1986
7) Urs Eggli "Das große Kakteen-Lexikon" Ulmer, Stuttgart 2005
8) David Hunt "CITES Cactaceae Checklist" Second Edition. 1999
9) Nigel Paul Taylor "A commentary on the genus Echinofossulocactus Lawr." In: Cactus and Succulent Journal of Great Britain. Volume 41, page 35–42 1979
Cultivation and Propagation: Stenocactus wippermannii is easy to to care cactus, recommended for any collection that needs lots of light with ample airflow.
Growth rate: It is a small growing, but easily flowering species.
Soils: It needs regular cacti soil with little organic matter (peat, humus).
Repotting: Repotting every other year. As it is especially prone to rot under-pot in a smaller container filled with very porous compost. Use pot with good drainage.
Watering: Water regularly in summer, but do not overwater (very wet-sensitively, especially in light of its succulent root system), allow to dry between watering. Its roots are easily lost in pots that stay damp for any length of time. It should not be watered at all in winter. In the rest period no high atmospheric humidity!! Care must be taken with watering as they tends to become swollen and untidy in growth habit if given too much water and shade.
Fertilization: During the growing season enrich the soil using a fertilizer rich in potassium and phosphorous, but poor in nitrogen, because this chemical element doesn’t help the development of succulent plants, making them too soft and full of water.
Hardiness: Reputedly sensitive to frost , but less so if kept on the dry side prior to, and during, cold weather (hardy to -5° C for short periods). However some warmth throughout the year will increase the grower's success (minimum 5° to 8°C during rest season).
Exposition: Outside bright sun it likes strong sunshine, but is tolerant and do well with light shade during the hot Summer months, inside it needs bright light, and some direct sun. Subject to sunburn if exposed to direct sun for too long. Tends to bronze in strong light, which encourages flowering and heavy wool and spine production.
Uses: It is an excellent plant for container growing. It always looks good and stays small. It look fine in a cold greenhouse and frame.
Pests & diseases: It may be attractive to a variety of insects, but plants in good condition should be nearly pest-free, particularly if they are grown in a mineral potting-mix, with good exposure and ventilation. Nonetheless, there are several pests to watch for:
- Red spiders: Sensitive to red spider mite. Overhead watering is helpful in controlling mites.
- Mealy bugs: Occasionally mealy bugs they develop aerial into the new growth among the wool with disfiguring results, but the worst types develop underground on the roots and are invisible except by their effects.
- Scales: Scales are rarely a problem.
- Rot: Rot it is only a minor problem with cacti if the plants are watered and “aired” correctly. If they are not, fungicides won't help all that much.
Propagation: Seeds (usually). Seeds germinate in 7-14 days at 21-27° C in spring, remove the glass cover gradually as the plants develops and keep ventilated, no full sun for young plants! The seedlings should not be disturbed until they are well rooted, after which they can be planted separately in small pots.
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