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Echinocereus engelmannii


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of Cacti and Succulents.

Echinocereus engelmannii is one of the most interesting species with the genus Echinocereus for its attractively spination.

Desription: E. engelmanni is a clumping columnar cactus, 3-60-branched, ultimately forming somewhat open clumps of stems which can spread out as large as 1m in size. It a highly variable species; sometimes divided into vars. but not satisfactorily.
Stems: Mostly erect light green, cylindrical or somewhat tapering distally, 10-30 (or more up to 60 cm) cm tall, 5-10 cm diameter, branching freely from the base;
Ribs: 11 to 14 low obtuse, tubercles indistinct, crests slightly undulate.
Areoles: 6-15 mm apart, wool present in first year only.
Spines: 8-20 per areole, usually straight (curved and twisted in desert mountains and peninsular ranges of California), individual spines with broad zones of different colours:
Central spines: 4 to 6 whitish or greyish, dull golden-yellow, or reddish brown to nearly black., 5-7 (< 8) cm long; divergent-porrect
Radial spines: 8 to 20 (or more) mm long .
The more common form has bright pink flowers (Often varying from paler to darker in same population) but some varieties have different colours, from purple to lavender. The flowers are up to 7 cm in diameter, 5-13 cm long . Flower tube hairy. Anthers yellow, Stigma green in the centre.
Blooming phenology: Spring (February to April), flowers are diurnal close at night and reopen in the morning and last for about five days.
Fruit: Red or orangish 2.5-4 cm long, spherical, fleshy, pulp whitish be-coming infused with pink or red from the skin. Spine clusters deciduous. The fruit is edible (if you can reach through the spines). It is said to taste like strawberry, and is eaten readily by birds and rodents. Fruiting May-Jul.


Photo of conspecific taxa, varieties, forms and cultivars of plants belonging to the Echinocereus engelmanni complex (This Taxon has lots of synonyms  whit several controversial varieties and subspecies and comprises a multitude of different forms, but where each form is linked to others by populations of plants with intermediate characteristics):



Family: Cactaceae (Cactus Family)

Scientific name: Echinocereus engelmannii (Parry ex Engelmann) Lemaire.
Publisced in: Cactées. 56. 1868

Origin: It is one of the most common species of cactus in the south-western USA (southern California, Arizona, southern Nevada, Utah) and Mexico (Baja California down to northern Baja California Sur, Sonora). Still, there are a number of varieties of Echinocereus engelmannii, and some are quite rare.

Habitat: It grows in many dry habitats normally at well drained deserts and sandy slopes in Sonoran and Mojave deserts, chaparral, pinyon-juniper woodlands and also in flats, and rocky hillsides; 200-2400 m;

Common Names include: Engelmann’s hedgehog cactus, strawberry hedgehog cactus

Conservation status: Listed in CITES appendix 2.


  • Cereus engelmannii Parry ex Engelmann
    In: Amer. J. Sci. Arts, ser. 2, 14: 338. 1852 (as engelmanni);
Heterotypic synonyms:
  • Echinocereus engelmannii var. armatus L. D. Benson
  • E. engelmannii var. chrysocentrus (Engelmann & Bigelow) Rümpler;
  • E. engelmannii var. howei L. D. Benson
  • Echinocereus engelmannii var. purpureus
  • Echinocereus munzii,
  • Cereus munzii,
  • Echinocereus engelmannii var. variegatus,
  • Echinocereus engelmannii var. acicularis


n cultivation the strawberry hedgehog grows rather slowly and it is sensitive to overwatering (rot prone) needs a very good drainage to avoid rotting,  but requires more moisture than true desert cacti to grow and produce flowers, Keep drier and cool in winter. Need full sun. It is cold resistant  to -10° ( or less depending on clones)  for short periods of time. It is a fine plant for a rock garden or container, contrasts well with agaves, yuccas, and low-growing flowering plants. It will show  its  flowers only if we provide an adequate winter rest period.

Propagation: Seeds, also can be grown from cutting as it branches  from the base;

Photo gallery: Alphabetical listing of Cactus and Succulent pictures published in this site.

Photo gallery Echinocereus


Home | E-mail | Plant files | Mail Sale Catalogue | Links | Information | Search

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.