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Introduction to Hedgehog Cactus Plants

Introduction to Hedgehog Cactus Plants

Echinocereus kuenzleri

Type 1 - Hedgehog Cactus. Thick, upright stems forming a mound.

Typically, these are the Echinocereus, which have stems from two inches to 24 inches tall that grow from a single base. The first part of the genus name Echinocereus comes from the Greek word for 'hedgehog', while the second part 'cereus' comes from the Latin for 'large candle'. They can be found from the southwest USA down into Mexico. Many of the species from the USA are very cold hardy. There are other species of cactus and succulent plants that grow in the same hedgehog fashion. Some examples are Opuntia invicta and Euphorbia horrida.

Size: Most species of Echinocereus form a mature clump of 2-3 feet wide. However, some of the rare species, such as E. minima or E. viridiflous v. davisii never get more than a few inches wide in habitat. At the other extreme, some species such as E. triglochidiatus v. mojavensis can form a mound of several hundred stems reaching 2-3 meters wide.

Flowers: Many hedgehogs are prized for their flower displays, mostly occuring in the spring. The flowers are typically large in proportion to the stem size; as a single pedal spread can each four inches wide on some species. The flower colors are typically spectacular. Many are pink, but you also have yellow, red, green, brown, and mixes represented. If pollinated, the flowers are very short lived. However, you can prolong the flower opening by sheltering it from the bees.

Echinocereus engelmannii Echinocereus dasyacanthus Opuntia invicta Euphorbia horrida
Echinocereus engelmannii Echinocereus dasyacanthus Opuntia invicta Euphorbia horrida
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