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 Mammillaria carmenae

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Chris43
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PostSubject: Mammillaria carmenae   Thu Jul 17, 2008 8:45 pm

On another forum, a question was asked about a plant, which looked like a very white spined M. carmenae. Now we know that there are carmenae plants that apear to have cream flowers, and yellowish spines, the "natural" form; and plants with various coloured spines, and plants with pink flowers. So I started to do a little research, and found that in 2004 at the ARIDES conference Dr Lau admitted that he had mixed up some seed of M. lauii with some of M. carmenae. That itself shouldn't have caused a major problem as the spine formations although similar are significantly different with regard to the central spines. Jon Pilbeam's book shows a picture of a pink flowered plant given to him by Dr Lau from the wild.

I then realised that the two species are from very similar areas, both being described as being from between Jaumave and Ciudad Victoria, Tamaulipas, a distance of about 40km only.
Since the two species hybridise easily in cultivation, it must be a possibility that this has happened in the wild also, and maybe what we see of carmenae with pink flowers, supposedly from habitat collection, are of that origin. What do you think? and does anyone know how you could check whether this hypothesis might be true?

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PostSubject: Re: Mammillaria carmenae   Thu Jul 17, 2008 8:46 pm

I don't know how to check this Chris. Maby visit the habitats. From my part I don't want a pink flowered carmenae in my collection. Only the real one with cream flowers. I have read some time ago the article about Lau on a French site too. He didn't mention about hybrids in the wild, but it is always possible. But don 't underestimate our friends in the big nurseries, they could hybridise as much as they want and most of the pink flowered carmenaes are from those nurseries and not from the wild. But your hypothesis could be true.

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PostSubject: Re: Mammillaria carmenae   Thu Jul 17, 2008 8:47 pm

Dear Chris,
interesting thread, It could be possilbe that hybridization could have occured in habitat. Both species can be found at the same altitudes. M.carmenae 850m to 1900m and M.lauii spp, 800m (subducta) 1000m to 1600m (lauii) and 1400m to 1600m (dasyacantha). Two questions would be the topographical layout of the region and which M.lauii sub species did M.carmenae do the dirty deed with.
Between Ciudad Victoria and jaumave is a range of hills to about 1000m throught which runs MEX 101. This range then runs west and south to 4045m and it is probably in this region that both species are found. Is it possiable that hybridization could take place over that distance (40 km) in this kind of terrain. Could it be possible that one is a sub-speices of the other and what we have a very varible species ?
The only way you could be sure of any thing is to get absolute document material and cross them under controled conditions in the glasshouse and see what happens.
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PostSubject: Re: Mammillaria carmenae   Thu Jul 17, 2008 8:49 pm

I think that 40km is not the actual distance between type locations, as BOTH were given as being between Jaumave and Ciudad Victoria. It does depend on what the fertilisation mechanism is, whether by insect or bird, though the shape of the flowers doesn't suggest a bird is the only mechanism at least.

Does anyone know how far insects might travel? I found a couple of web sites that suggest that bees can travel as far as 5km (each way - New Zealand study), and another of eglossine bees (??) whch suggest they travel 23km. But what insects ther eare in thoe parts we are interested may well not be any of these sorts.

As ever, I speculate, and then come to the end of my knowledge without an answer.

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PostSubject: Re: Mammillaria carmenae   Thu Jul 17, 2008 8:51 pm

If you what you could take this a step futher by getting in touch with Hunt and ask him for the copies of the Lau Data sheets for all of his collections of M.Carmenae and M.lauii ssp including L1495. These sheets have a lot more specific information such has Latitude, Longitude and Altitude. From there you could plot the locations on to a map of Mexico. Send him a copy of this thread and ask him for any other comments on the subject.
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PostSubject: Re: Mammillaria carmenae   Thu Jul 17, 2008 8:52 pm

I went back to Hunt's 1987 publication from Bradleya reprints "A new review of Mammillaria names", and checked carmenae and lauii. BOTH are stated there to come from the ranch 'La Regia' or La Reja according to Lau. I then rechecked Pilbeam and found that La Reja was mentioned for the type locality of lauii ssp lauii. I'd missed it in my first reading - must be more careful before typing.
(and I think you mean L1496 not L1495 which of course is huitzlipochtlii niduliformis)
So I wonder how big La Reja is? The web site Living Rocks has a section on Marcelino Castaņeda who built a shack on the ranch, "on the top of Novillo Canpon, west of Ciudad Victoria". This is where L1496 comes from. It was he who first described Mammillaria carmenae in 1953, but after his death in 1960, the plant appeared lost until Lau started to look and refound it in 1977. It perhaps is surprising that he didn't also find lauii during his many months of searching the area for all kinds of plants.

Your idea of contacting David Hunt is a good one, I'll do so, and see what comes of this.

I have found La Reja on Google Earth, under a link called "rumbo a la reja". This says that it is 2km from El Abesto, and Lau's original lauii L1171 came from Minas Asbestos. The co-incidence of names is too much for chance.

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PostSubject: Re: Mammillaria carmenae   Thu Jul 17, 2008 8:53 pm

I recall there being an article specifically on the rediscovery of M.carmenae in the U.S jounal many years ago ( 1977 onwards) If you could obtain a copy of this article it could yield some useful information.
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PostSubject: Re: Mammillaria carmenae   Thu Jul 17, 2008 8:54 pm

There's also an article about M. carmenae in the AfM journal 3/2007 page 138-145

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PostSubject: Re: Mammillaria carmenae   Thu Jul 17, 2008 8:55 pm

I was just working throught the Aymeric de Barmon seedlist when I came across this , M.carmenae Lau 1363, natural hybrid with M.lauii. R/M/D/Base has the following details..M.carmenae form, from Novillo, Tamaulipas, 1600m. White spines and purplish flowers. Collected 12-10-81.
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PostSubject: Re: Mammillaria carmenae   Thu Jul 17, 2008 8:56 pm

Thanks Mark. I think that supports the theory. I still have to re-read the articles so won't add any more until then. But it's one for next year's seed list...

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PostSubject: Re: Mammillaria carmenae   Sun Aug 10, 2008 6:26 pm

I've just read a letter from Dr Lau where he mentions that he has found a purple flowered carmenae, which he has given the field number 1363, so it seems that this is genuine. It will be on my list for seed buying. But how one might determine whether it is a natural hybrid or a genuine natural variant of carmenae is probably way beyound we amateurs.

In evolutionary terms though, it is probable that these two species, carmenae and laui are closely related, whether from a common and extinct ancestor, or whether carmenae (probably) is an evolved form of lauii, is open to question.

However, it is interesting that we don't know of a pale (yellow/white / cream) form of M. lauii though.

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PostSubject: Re: Mammillaria carmenae   Sat May 23, 2009 10:29 am

Just to add to this thread. Below is a picture of Lau 1363 which has been grown from original seed from Lau.



A close up of the flower.

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PostSubject: Re: Mammillaria carmenae   Sat May 23, 2009 10:42 am

This is the cross that Lau made between carmenae x laui.

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PostSubject: Re: Mammillaria carmenae   Tue Jun 02, 2009 10:53 am

Nice plants! Is the last photo is of a cross that Lau himself made? I didn't know that he had done so, let alone distributed seed of this hybrid. They have quite light coloured flowers.

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PostSubject: Re: Mammillaria carmenae   Tue Jun 02, 2009 4:44 pm

Hi Chris,

You really need to read your letters !
If you look in the Lau letters I got from Bob and send you, find the letter dated 12 july 1988 from Lau to Bob, It says the following ....

Yes the cross between carmenae and laui dasyacantha was made deliberately to find out whether the purple flowering population of carmenae could be a cross between the two, as the population is exactly between the two habitats.......I believe laui and carmenae are closely related.......There is little difference between the hybrid and the purple flowering carmenae (L 1363)
Bob had some seed from Lau of the cross and I recall that Jim Harrison also had some plants grown from this seed has well.
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