Echinocereus engelmannii is one of the most interesting species with the genus
Echinocereus for its attractively spination.
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
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 .
Flowers: 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
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.
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
Propagation: Seeds, also can be grown from cutting as it branches
from the base;
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
- Echinocereus engelmannii var. armatus L. D. Benson
E. engelmannii var. chrysocentrus (Engelmann & Bigelow)
- E. engelmannii var. howei L. D. Benson
- Echinocereus engelmannii var. purpureus
- Echinocereus munzii,
- Cereus munzii,
- Echinocereus engelmannii var. variegatus,
- Echinocereus engelmannii var. acicularis
conspecific taxa, varieties, forms and cultivars
of plants belonging to the
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):