Coryphantha echinus (Engelmann)
Britton & Rose
Published in: Cact. 4: 42. 1923.
Origin: USA (western
Texas), Mexico (Coahuila, Chihuahua)
Habitat: Degraded grasslands, desert scrub, on and near limestone
or igneous hills and benches, 300-1500 m
Conservation status: Listed in
CITES appendix 2.
Common Names include: Sea-urchin cactus,
rhinoceros cactus, Prickly Beehive Cactus
Etymology: The species name
"echinus" comes from the Latin for 'hedgehog'.
- Mammillaria echinus Engelmann
Published in: Cact. 4: 42. 1923Proc.
Amer. Acad. Arts 3: 267. 1856
- Cactus echinus
- Coryphantha cornifera var. echinus
(Engelmann) L. D. Benson
- Mammillaria pectinata Engelmann
- Cactus pectinatus
- Coryphantha pectinata (Engelmann)
Britton & Rose
- Coryphantha radians var. echinus
- Mammillaria radians var. echinus
- Coryphantha pectinata
solitary globular cactus (or branched with age, forming large clumps
80 cm in diameter, at low elevation in Brewster County, Texas),
Stems: 5 cm in diameter.
Spines: Largely obscuring the stem. 3 (0-4) central spines, 2.5 cm
long; 16 to 30 radial spines, 1 to 1.8 cm long.
Roots: Diffuse or short taproots.
Flowers: Nearly apical, 5 cm wide, bright yellow, sometimes
Fruits: Green, ovoid, slimy; floral remnant strongly
persistent, fruiting 2-4 months after flowering.
NOTE: This species is one of those
Coryphanthas which pass a purely radial-spined youth stage in which they
are already floriferous. The name C. pectinata (Engelmann) Britton &
Rose was used for plants lacking central spines, but after several years
the typical 3-4 central spines appear, giving the plant its sea urchin
Mature plants of Coryphantha echinus are
dimorphic with respect to presence/absence of porrect central spines.
Cultivation: In cultivation
it is quite sensitive to over-watering (rot
prone), and needs good drainage.
Keep drier in winter. Like other species
from the USA. it blooms quite early, but needs about 8-10 years to reach
the typical, definite outlook. It needs full sun;
and is hardy to -16° C or less
for short periods of time
Coryphantha cornifera /radians complex:
The range of both Coryphantha radians and
Coryphantha cornifera is identical, and at most locations adult
plants either without central spines ("radians"), or with
1-4 central spines ("cornifera") can be found.
exception of the abscence or existence of centrals,
all the other
characteristics are absolutely identical, namely size and form of
tubercles, number, size and arrangement of radial spines, flowers,
fruits and seeds. Furthermore this species is one of those Coryphanthas
which pass a purely radial-spined long youth stage in which they are
already floriferous. Most of the plants after several years
develop the central spines, giving the plant its sea urchin
Photo of conspecific taxa, varieties and
cultivars of plants belonging to the
has lots of synonyms
several controversial varieties and subspecies):