Overview

Distribution

Range Description

The species is found in the USA in southern Texas, and in Mexico in San Luis Potosí and the north of Tamaulipas, at altitudes of 100 to 1,000 m asl (Pilbeam 1999, Hernández et al. 2004).
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National Distribution

United States

Origin: Unknown/Undetermined

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Unknown/Undetermined

Confidence: Confident

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Global Range: Found in southern Texas in approximately 15 counties (below a line from Laredo to Corpus Christi) as well as in Tamaulipas and Nuevo León, Mexico.

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Tex.; Mexico (Nuevo León, Tamaulipas).
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Physical Description

Morphology

Description

Plants many branched; branches 10-30(-50). Roots thick taproots, large in upper portion. Stems subspheric, 4-5 × 5-8 cm, soft, flaccid; tubercles 12-25 × 5-8 mm; axils slightly short woolly, without bristles; cortex and pith not mucilaginous; latex absent. Spines 13-15 per areole, whitish to yellowish, glabrous; radial spines 12-14 per areole, gray, bristlelike, 6-9 × 0.1 mm, stiff; central spines 1 per areole, porrect, straight, not hooked or curved, similar to radial spines, 3-6 × 0.25 mm; subcentral spines 0. Flowers 4 × 5-7 cm; outermost tepal margins entire (or minutely toothed near base); inner tepals bright yellow, paler near base, 20-30 × 4.5-8.5 mm; stigma lobes cream to pale yellow, 5-6 mm. Fruits greenish white to dull pinkish tan or maroon, ovoid to short cylindric, 10-15(-20) × 7 mm, juicy throughout; floral remnant weakly persistent. Seeds brown, 1.3 × 0.9 mm, pitted; testa soft or leathery, not hard or brittle; anticlinal cell walls straight to slightly curved; interstices equal or narrower than pit diameters; pits bowl-shaped. 2n = 22.
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Diagnostic Description

Synonym

Dolichothele sphaerica (A. Dietrich) Britton & Rose; Mammillaria longimamma de Candolle var. sphaerica (A. Dietrich) K. Brandegee
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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
The species sits in thick rootstock (Pilbeam 1999) and usually grows in shade. In Tamaulipas the species occurs in several sites in Tamaulipan thorn scrub, in sparse vegetation and on flat limestones.

Systems
  • Terrestrial
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Comments: It occurs in Texas brush country, including grassland and thicket areas, often under shade among bushes or in gravelly spots among grasses, and in Tamaulipan thorn scrub on plains and low gravelly hills, 0 - 300 m.

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Tamaulipan thorn scrub on plains and low gravelly hills; 0-300m.
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Life History and Behavior

Cyclicity

Flowering/Fruiting

Flowering Jul; fruiting May.
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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
LC
Least Concern

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2013

Assessor/s
Heil, K. & Terry, M.

Reviewer/s
Superina, M. & Goettsch, B.K.

Contributor/s

Justification

Mammillaria sphaerica has a relatively wide range, and even though it is not abundant, there are no known threats affecting it. Hence, it is listed as Least Concern.

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National NatureServe Conservation Status

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: NNR - Unranked

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G4 - Apparently Secure

Reasons: Found in southern Texas in approximately 15 counties (below a line from Laredo to Corpus Christi) as well as in Tamaulipas and Nuevo León, Mexico. In at least Texas, it is "rather common". Occurs in Texas brush country and Tamaulipan thorn scrub, under shade among bushes and in gravelly spots among grasses on plains and low gravelly hills, from 0 to 300 m elevation.

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Population

Population
The species is scattered and not abundant.

Population Trend
Stable
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Threats

Major Threats
There are no known major threats to this species.
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
The species occurs within several State and Federal Protected Areas in southern Texas.
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Notes

Comments

A proposed taxonomic reduction of Mammillaria sphaerica to varietal rank within the geographically disjunct and morphologically distinct Mexican species, M. longimamma, while plausible, has not yet been convincingly justified.
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