Usually densely caespitose, often in large colonies up to 1 m in
diameter, containing sometimes 200 or more simple stems.
Stems: Dark green, ovoid to cylindrical, 20-40 cm tall, 3 to 5
in diameter .
Ribs: 8 to 11 somewhat tuberculed.
Spines: ± Acicular, mostly undifferentiated between radials and
Radial spines: (5-)8-12(-20) round in cross-section, 1-2 cm
long, usually whitish.
Central spines: 0 to 4,
longer and stouter somewhat
angular in cross-section, the main one often flattened, up to 7.5 cm
long; usually yellowish or whitish,
but sometimes reddish or blackish.
Flowers: Borne below the stems apex, oftem
unisexual (plants dioecious) broad Infundibuliform, orange-red, crimson
or (rarely) pinkish, 3-10 cm long, up to 8 cm in diameter, perianth-segment
obtuse or retuse, stigma with 7 or 8 lobes, usually greenish, areoles on
flower, and ovary felted, bearing short white bristly spines.
Blooming season: Spring. The blooming period of large plants can
extend over a period of weeks, with each bloom remaining open for
several days and nights.
Fruits: Globose, becoming red, with spines falling away.
Remarks: Female and male flowers. Echinocereus coccineus is a cactus with
both hermaphroditic (bisexual) and dioecious (male and female) forms of
flowers on different plants. Male flower shows pollen-filled anthers
surrounding the base of the stigma lobes.ì,
while functional female flowers
from different plants show reduced filaments and empty anther sacs held
below the stigma lobes.
The flowers appear specialized for hummingbirds, but are also pollinated
by bees. They are huge and highly rewarding, and daily nectar production
averaged 30 mg sugar/flower. This set of traits represents a syndrome
rare among hummingbird flowers, in which the flower fits the head rather
than just the bill, and birds are well rewarded for a risky or
Uses: This species is
used medicinally as a heart stimulant.