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  Echinocereus reichenbachii var. caespitosus
(Syn: Echinocereus reichenbachii)


Echinocereus reichenbachii ssp. caespitosus
Also known as the “White Lace Cactus of Texas” it is a fine plant with very attractive, large, fragrant pink blooms, unusual in the flat clusters of spines which spread comb-like back over the ribs.

Description: Slowly branching cylindrical shaped cactus with up to 12 branches.
Stem: Erect, cylindrical or short cylindrical, 7 to 40 cm tall, 2,5 to 10 cm in diameter
Ribs: 10-19 straight or slightly undulate.
Areoles:1-6(-10) mm apart.
Radial spines: 20 to 36 , straight to slightly curved, held closely against the the ribs of the stems, organized in 2 series, pectinately arranged or nearly so, 5 to 8 mm long. Multi-coloured, white to tan, dull pink, dark brown, or purplish black.
Central spines: 0 to7 ( but usually absent) small , terete, 1-6(-15) mm long, often darker yellowish with a brown tip, at first, whitish on older areoles.
Flowers: Beautiful, abundant, scented, intense pink flowers, 5 to 7 cm long (5-7 cm). Flower tube 22-40 × 10-30 mm; flower tube hairs 5-15 mm; inner tepals silvery pink to magenta, usually white, crimson, green, or multicoloured proximally, 23-40 × 5-15 mm, tips relatively thin, delicate; anthers yellow; nectar chamber 2-5 mm. The basis of flowers are clothed with dense greyish wool.
Blooming season: Early May to Late June.
Fruits: Ovoid green, olive green, or dark green, fruit up to 28 mm long; fruiting 1.5-2.5 months after flowering.
Seeds: Black.
Remarks: The
subsp. caespitosus.  The common plants of E. reichenbachii in Texas, usually lacking central spines, are weakly distinguished from typical E. reichenbachii and are the basis for E. reichenbachii subsp. caespitosus. Oklahoma populations with unusually long bristlelike spines were named E. baileyi Rose [E. reichenbachii subsp. baileyi]. They intergrade, however, with the nearby, short-spined populations of E. reichenbachii. Echinocereus reichenbachii var. albispinus pertains to intermediates between E. baileyi and E. reichenbachii subsp. (or var.) caespitosus.


Echinocereus reichenbachii is cold-hardy and endures frost as long as it is kept dry.

Family: Cactaceae (Cactus Family)

Scientific name: Echinocereus reichenbachii var. caespitosus (Engelmann) Engelmann

Nowadays regarded as: Echinocereus reichenbachii ssp. reichenbachii (Terscheck ex Walpers) Haage Jr. ex Britton & Rose
Pubblished in: Cactaceae. 3: 25. 1922.

OriginThe so called "caespitosus" is the form found in central Texas.

Habitat:  It thrives in a variety of sites and soils often found growing out of cracks in solid limestone rock.

Conservation status: Listed in CITES appendix 2.

Common Names include: The popular name of Echinocereus reichenbachii is Lace hedgehog cactus or simply Lace Cactus (due to the look of the spines). Other names are: Black Lace Cactus, Classen's Cactus, Merry Widow Cactus, Purple Candle Cactus.


  • Cereus caespitosus Engelmann 1845
  • Echinocereus caespitosus (Engelmann) Engelmann 1848
  • Echinocereus reichenbachii ssp. caespitosus (Engelmann) Blum & Lange 1998 (Not validly pubblished)
  • Echinocereus caespitosus var. reichenbachii Ters. ex Borg 1937
  • Echinocereus pectinatus var. reichenbachii (Terscheck ex Walpers) Werdermann 1930

Notes: The Echinocereus reichenbachii species group (E. reichenbachii, E. chisosensis, E. rigidissimus, E. pseudopectinatus, and a number of Mexican species) has unusually thin, bristle-like spines clothing the flowers and fruits as well as conspicuous, cobwebby tomentum of unusually long areolar hairs. The persistent, dry, white features of the flower tube are an essential distinction contrasting with the otherwise similar E. pectinatus species group (E. pectinatus, E. dasyacanthus, and possibly E. bonkerae), regardless of the spectacular, colourful floral displays.


Cultivation: 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 very cold resistant  from -10° to -25° C (depending on clones) or less 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.

Seeds, also can be grown from cutting as it slowly branches  from the base.



Photo of conspecific taxa, varieties, forms and cultivars taxa of plants belonging to the Echinocereus reichenbachii complex (This Taxon has lots of synonyms whit several controversial varieties and subspecies):




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

Photo gallery Echinocereus



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