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  Coryphantha echinus
(Syn: Coryphantha pectinata)
CACTUS ART
NURSERY

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Coryphantha echinus SB391 Pecos Co. Tx. USA
The flowers last briefly, they are fully expanded at high noon (if in brilliant sunlight), and wilt after only an hour or two.  They bloom from April through August.
 


 

 

 

 


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Family: Cactaceae (Cactus Family)

Scientific name:  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'.

Taxon synonyms

  • 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

Description: Mostly solitary globular cactus (or branched with age, forming large clumps up to 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 proximally reddish.
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 appearance.
 

 



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.  With the 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 appearance.

Photo of conspecific taxa, varieties and cultivars of plants belonging to the cornifera /radians complex (This Taxon has lots of synonyms several controversial varieties and subspecies):

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All the information and photos in cactus art file are now available also in the new the Enciclopedia of Cacti. We hope you find this new site informative and useful.