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  Echinocereus triglochidiatus CACTUS ART

Cultivation and Mail Sale
of Cacti and Succulents.

Echinocereus triglochidiatus
It is a beautiful plant with long-lasting, waxy, scarlet flowers, which make it a favorite among gardeners.

Description: In general it is a mounding cactus, forming bulbous piles of from a few to hundreds of spherical to cylindrical stems.  Plants may vary from densely spiny (usually) to no spines at all.  E. triglochidiatus is the most wide-spread of the Echiniocereus species and is also the most variable in appearance. I n fact, the several varieties are so different-looking that the only uniting factor is the bright red bloom and rounded petals.
Stems: Usually erect , spherical or cylindrical, 3-70 cm tall, 5-13 cm in diameter;
Ribs: 5-8 or 8-12, crests slightly undulate (some populations contain plants with strongly interrupted ribs);
Areoles: 10-40 mm apart
, and somewhat woolly.
Spines (0-)3-11 per areole, with central spines being difficult to distinguish from the radial spines. Straight to curved or contorted, appressed (radial spines) or spreading to projecting outward (some radials, and central spines when present), white to yellow, gray, or sometimes nearly black, but those turn whitish-grey after their first season.
Radial spines:  (0-)1-10 per areole, (0-)15-90 mm long; Spines are at first yellow, pink or black.
Central spines: 0-1(-4) per areole, angular, (0-)50-120 mm long.
Flowers: Diurnal, funnel
-shaped,  5-10 × 3-7 cm; flower tube 20-35 mm; flower tube hairs 1-2 mm; inner tepals bright orange-red to dark red, proximally paler (bases sometimes yellow or white), 25-40 × 10-15 mm, tips thick and rigid; anthers usually pink to purple. There is a thick nectar chamber and many thready pink stamens at the center of the corolla. The flowers are pollinated by hummingbirds.
Fruits: Juicy, with deciduous spines, and edible, green to yellow-green or pink (rarely red), (15-)20-35 mm, pulp white
, fruiting 2-2.5 months after flowering...
Blooming season: Apr-Jun
e, the flowers  remain open for 2 or 3 days.  Blooming generally begins 5 to 10 years after sowing, as the plant matures.

Photo and © copyright by Irwin Lightstone
(http://www.radiantimagesphotography.net )

Stigma detail taken in my yard before sunset with a Canon mpe 65mm at f4.5 at about 3.25x - lifesize, multiple images composited with Helicon software.  Artefacts, such as some minor fringing, were removed with Photoshop. The green stigma was about the size of a small grain of rice.

Photo and © copyright by: Wilfried Stolz  - Austria )


Photo of conspecific taxa, varieties, forms an cultivars of Echinocereus triglochidiatus.

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

Photo gallery Echinocereus



Family: Cactaceae (Cactus Family)

Scientific name:  Echinocereus triglochidiatus Engelmann
in F. A. Wislizenus, Mem. Tour N. Mexico. 93. 1848.

OriginE. triglochidiatus is the most widespread species (Nevada, Utah, and Colorado south to southern California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, and Mexico)

Habitat: It is a resident of many varied habitats in the upper edge of the Mojave Desert, from low desert to rocky slopes, scrub, coniferous forests, igneous and calcareous rock outcrops and cliffs.  It is most abundant in shady areas. These plants can grow in colder climates because the stems clump so closely together. This reduces surface area through which it can lose heat.  It can grow in elevations from 150 to 3500 m.

Conservation status: Listed in CITES appendix 2.


  • Cereus triglochidiatus Engelmann 1848
  • Cereus gonacanthus
  • Echinocereus triglochidiatus var. gonacanthus (Engelmann & J. M. Bigelow) Boissevain
  • Echinocereus paucispinus var. triglochidiatus Schumann 1896
  • Echinocereus triglochidiatus var. paucispinus
  • Echinocereus triglochidiatus var. mojavensis (Engelmann & J. M. Bigelow) L. D. Benson
  • Echinocereus triglochidiatus var. inermis (Schumann) Arp

Common NameClaret-Cup Hedgehog , Kingcup cactus, mound cactus, King's Crown Cactus, Spineless Hedgehog, Strawberry Cactus., Mound Cactus, Crimson Hedgehog, Claretcup Hedgehog, Curve-Spined Claret Cup,, Mojave Hedgehog, Mojave Kingcup Cactus, Mojave Mound Cactus, Mound Hedgehog-Cactus.

Etymology: The genus name Echinocereus comes from the Greek word "εχινος (Echinos)" meaning" Sea-urchin or Hedgehog"
The species name "triglochidiatus" is formed by the prefix “tri” meanening “three (3)” plus the Latin word “glochidium” a “barbed hair of a plant or a spine
referring to the spines found on areoles along the ribs, but not all the plants bear clusters of three spines, and usually more than three spines are found in each cluster.



Photo and © copyright by: Wilfried Stolz  - Austria )
The glorious flower colour of the hedgehog cactus rivals that of the desert sunset. The flowers are a beautiful deep red, with many petals that form the shape of a cup. They bloom from April through June, and are the first to bloom in the desert.

There are a number of varieties of this highly variable cactus species, but not all are universally recognized.  Some authorities recognize the following varieties:

E. triglochidiatus var. triglochidiatus Plants with the fewest and largest spines
, that occupy the eastern portion of the species’ distribution.  The central or radial spines are sharply angular in cross section, and 1-2 mm thick.
E. triglochidiatus  var. arizonicus (Rose) L. Benson Arizona hedgehog cactus (endangered): oak woodland
E. triglochidiatus  var. gonacanthus a name carelessly applied to miscellaneous plants throughout the range of var. triglochidiatus.
E. triglochidiatus var. gurneyi L. Benson : Chihuahuan desert, desert grassland
E. triglochidiatus  var. inermis Rowley spineless hedgehog cactus
E. triglochidiatus  var. melanacanthus (Engelm.) L. Benson :Rocky Mountain montane forest, pinyon-juniper woodland
E. triglochidiatus  var. mojavensis (Engelm. & Bigel.) L. Benson : Mojave desert, chaparral
.  This taxon includes curly-spined plants (mainly in California) and straight-spined plants (including most populations in Arizona, Utah, and western Colorado).
E. triglochidiatus  var. neomexicanus (Standl.) Standl. ex W. T. Marshall :
 oak, pinyon-juniper woodland
E. triglochidiatus  var. paucispinus (Engelm.) Engelm. ex W. T. Marshall

The variety E. triglochidiatus var. toroweapensis Fischer has been proposed.

A spineless form (var. inermis) has been applied at various taxonomic ranks to individual plants with spines absent or nearly so in the eastern portion of var. mojavensis, mainly found in the mountains and mesas of western Colorado and eastern Utah.   On these plants, areoles may have very few spines and some stems can be almost completely spineless, but the same plant will have spined stems and many spines per areole in another area.

Echinocereus triglochidiatus is the earliest name for a large group of diploid and polyploid taxa treated as conspecific by L. D. Benson (1969, 1982). The tetraploids are now recognized as a distinct species: E. coccineus, including E. polyacanthus Engelmann of Mexico.

A geographically distant tetraploid, Echinocereus coccineus var. paucispinus, superficially resembles some eastern E. triglochidiatus but may be distinguished by its relatively terete and more consistently straight spines.

USE: Some Native Americans collect the stems, burn off the spines and mash them. Sugar is added and then it is baked to make sweet cakes.
Parts Used: pulp, flowers and stems

Cultivation:  This cactus is widely cultivated for its flowers.  It is among the easiest species to grow, flower and propagate.  Water regularly from March to October. Rot prone in winter, it needs good drainage. Claret Cups require strong sunlight to maintain a healthy appearance, and a harsh "dry and cool" winter environment combined with maximum light exposure enhances spring flower production.
Frost Tolerance: Depends on the variety
:  Var. arizonicus is hardy to -6° C, the other varieties are much more cold resistant (some populations can tolerate temperatures down  to -25° C or less)


Photos from habitat (White Sands S. Central New Mexico, USA) Images and comments by David Van Langen
Echinocereus triglochidiatus - White Sands S. Central New Mexico, USA
 E. triglochidiatus
Collector: David Van Langen
Locality: White Sands S. Central New Mexico, USA

An heavily spined cultivated plant (from seeds
collected in a private ranch property just south of Holloman Air Force Base. The Sand Dunes were visible but 10 miles off.)

Full bloom
A very outstanding cactus

White Sands National Monument May2002. White Sands Claret Cup just beyond the dunes.

White Sands National Monument (S. central New Mexico, in Tularosa Basin):   "the soil there is terrible!! Even the mesquite trees only get 4 ft tall and look dead most of the time. It also gets close to 10 F° (-12° C) on cold winter days but warms up within a few days"


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.