Echinocereus coccineus (Scarlet Hedgehog Cactus)
Echinocereus coccineus (Scarlet Hedgehog Cactus) is a clumping cactus that forms large colonies of up to 100 thick stems on each plant at…
Potting and Repotting Echinocereus
Any container you choose for an echinocereus cactus should have ample drainage holes. An unglazed container is best, as it will allow excess moisture to escape through its walls as well as via the drainage holes. Select a fairly shallow container, as the cacti don’t have deep roots.
Because these cacti grow slowly, they won’t need repotting often. Once the roots are starting to grow out of the pot and the plant has become too top-heavy for its container, then it’s time to move it to a slightly bigger pot. Be extra careful removing it from the old container, as Echinocereus cacti tend to have weak roots. Gently knock off any loose soil. Then, plant it at the same depth in the new container, filling in around it with fresh cactus potting mix.
Echinocereus coccineus - garden
Origin and Habitat: Southwestern USA (Arizona, Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, Nevada, California) and Mexico (Baja California, Sonora, Coahuila, Chihuahua). Echinocereus coccineus has a very large extent of occurrence, is abundant and common, and there are no major threats.
TL: New Mexico, Wolf Creek, Wislizenus,24 June 1846 (MO).
Altitude range: (150-)1500-2800(-3000) metres above sea level.
Habitat: Chihuahuan Desert, desert scrub (chaparral), desert grasslands, bajadas, Great Plains grasslands, pinyon-juniper and oak woodlands, mountain forest, forest clearings. It grows on rocky outcroppings and cliffs, on loamy, humus, mineral soil and and also in igneous, metamorphic, and limestone substrates, with humus, often in the partial-shade of oak and pine-oak woodlands and mixed conifer forest. It is pollinated by hummingbirds and halictid bees, and it has both hermaphroditic and dimorphic populations.
Description: Usually clumping, Echinocereus coccineus forms large colonies of as many as 50-100 (500)-thick stems on each plant at maturity. Stems can vary from almost spineless to wildly and densely spined. Two subspecies are recognized, the nominate and Echinocereus coccineus subs. paucispinus (Engelm.) W.Blum. Mich.Lange & Rutow.
Stems: Semi-erect, dark green, from 8 cm to 40 cm tall, 5 cm in diameter.
Ribs: 8 to 11.
Spines: Mostly undifferentiated between radials and centrals. Spines are yellowish and turn grey after a number of years.
Central spines: 0 to 4 , up to 7.5 cm long.
Radial spines:* 5-20.
Flowers: Hummingbird-attracting, colour ranges from near orange, scarlet , and pink to deep crimson shades, with rounded petal tips length and width averaged 80 mm and 30 mm, respectively, stigma with 7 or 8 lobes.
Blooming season: Peak flowering comes from late April to June on mature clumps. Fruiting 2-3 months after flowering.
Subspecies, varieties, forms and cultivars of plants belonging to the Echinocereus coccineus group
- Echinocereus arizonicus subs. matudae" href='/Encyclopedia/CACTI/Family/Cactaceae/7172/Echinocereus_arizonicus_subs._matudae'> Echinocereus arizonicus subs. matudae (Bravo) Rutow : has larger stem, up to 50 cm tall, and 12 cm in diameter, a reduced number of ribs with fewer short, thick spines. Distribution: Mexico, Chihuahua.
- Echinocereus coccineus" href='/Encyclopedia/CACTI/Family/Cactaceae/7140/Echinocereus_coccineus'> Echinocereus coccineus Engelm. in Wisliz. : It has stems that are 2,5 to 5 cm thick, with 8 to 11 ribs. The spines are not differentiable between centrals & radials. There are 0 to 4 central spines and 5 to 20 radial spines per areole. The red-orange flower is 7-8 cm across, and the stigma has 7 or 8 lobes.
- Echinocereus coccineus var. arizonicus (Rose ex Orcutt) D.J.Ferguson
- Echinocereus coccineus var. gurneyi" href='/Encyclopedia/CACTI/Family/Cactaceae/12620/Echinocereus_coccineus_var._gurneyi'> Echinocereus coccineus var. gurneyi (L.D.Benson) S.Brack & K.D.Heil : Stems darker green in color compared to the other varieties, and 10 cm thick. The flowers are Orangish-red. This variety is often included into the 'coccineus' subspecies. It looks like coccineus, but is very clustering!
- Echinocereus coccineus subs. paucispinus" href='/Encyclopedia/CACTI/Family/Cactaceae/8493/Echinocereus_coccineus_subs._paucispinus'> Echinocereus coccineus subs. paucispinus (Engelm.) W.Blum, Mich.Lange & Rutow in W.Blum et al. : It has stems that are about 6 cm thick, with 5 to 8 acute narrowly furrowed ribs that have areoles that are spa ced 0,5 to 1 cm apart. It has 0 or 1 central spine, 1.4 inches long, and 3 to 6 radial spines that are curved and straight. The flower is red with a hint of orange & shaped like a funnel about 5 cm long, having 7 lobes of the stigma.
- Echinocereus coccineus var. rosei" href='/Encyclopedia/CACTI/Family/Cactaceae/7175/Echinocereus_coccineus_var._rosei'> Echinocereus coccineus var. rosei (Wooton & Standl.) A.D.Zimmerman : This plant has relatively long, white wool in the areoles of the ovary and fruit. Flowers scarlet (pink and orange flowered plants are also reported)
- Echinocereus roemeri" href='/Encyclopedia/CACTI/Family/Cactaceae/7145/Echinocereus_roemeri'> Echinocereus roemeri Engelm. ex F.Haage
Notes: Female and male flowers: Echinocereus coccineusis a cactus with both hermaphroditic (bisexual) and dioecious (male and female) forms of flowers in different plants. Male flowesr show pollen-filled anthers surrounding the base of the stigma lobes. Functional female flowers from different plants show reduced filaments and empty anther sacs held below the stigma lobes.
The flowers appear specialized in hummingbirds, but are also pollinated by bees. They are huge and highly rewarding, and daily nectar production averages 30 mg sugar per 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 inconvenient visit.
Bibliography: Major references and further lectures
1) David Hunt, Nigel Taylor “The New Cactus Lexicon” DH Books, 2006
2) Edward F. Anderson “The Cactus Family” Timber Press, 2001
3) Terry, M., Heil, K., Gómez-Hinostrosa, C. & Corral-Díaz, R. 2013. Echinocereus coccineus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. . Downloaded on 29 April 2015.
4) Stuart Max Walters “The European Garden Flora: Dicotyledons (Part I)” Cambridge University Press, 1989
A female flower from different plants show reduced filaments and empty anther sacs held below the stigma lobes. Photo by: Cactus Art
Carizzozo, New Mexico, USA Photo by: Valentino Vallicelli
Echinocereus coccineus Photo by: Valentino Vallicelli
Echinocereus coccineus Photo by: Valentino Vallicelli
Echinocereus coccineus JRT481
Item #: 14842
Zones: 6a to 9a
Height: 18" tall
Origin: United States
Pot Size: 3.5" pot (24 fl. oz/0.7 L) ?
Note: This plant is not currently for sale. This is an archive page preserved for informational use.
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Echinocereus coccineus is one of the most popular of the Southwest US native (Utah south to Mexico) barrel cactus for rock gardens. Our offering is grown from a Jeff Thompson seed collection from a population at 5,400' elevation in Hudspeth County, Texas. Here, the Echinocereus coccineus had bright orange flowers with a white center. The thick clumping stems form an 18" tall x 2' wide patch. As with all hardy cactus, good drainage is essential.