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Echinocereus engelmannii var. variegatus
 

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Echinocereus engelmannii
var. variegatus
 

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 .
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 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.
Remarks: The var. variegatus has typically long red or black central spines and white radial spines , the flower is about 5 cmm across.
 

Family: Cactaceae (Cactus Family)

Scientific name: Echinocereus engelmannii (Parry ex Engelmann) Lemaire var. variegatus (Engelm. & Bigelow) Rümpler
Publisced in: Cactées. 56. 1868

OriginEchinocereus engelmannii is one of the most common species of cactus in the south-western USA and Mexico,  the var. variegatus is restricted to South-eastern Utah, Northern and western Arizona.

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, hedgehog cactus, saint cactus, torch cactus.

Conservation status: Listed in CITES appendix 2.


Synonyms:

  • Echinocereus engelmannii (Parry ex Engelmann) Lemaire.
    Publisced in: Cactées. 56. 1868
  • Cereus engelmannii Parry ex Engelmann
    In: Amer. J. Sci. Arts, ser. 2, 14: 338. 1852 (as engelmanni)

 

 


Cultivation:
I
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 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):

 

 

 

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

Photo gallery Echinocereus

 



 

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This old page has been moved! Click the link next on the right to enter the new Enciclopedia of Cacti. We hope you find this new site informative and useful.

The Encyclopedia of Cacti