Echinocereus Engelmann (1848)

(Latin "echinus" = hedgehog; Latin "cereus" = waxy, candle)
a genus of columnar cacti, because of its spination and short columnar stems

short columnar to oblong to flat globular, soft fleshy, forming clumps
ribs very different, often less than10; spines partly spreaded, partly pectinate, colored
flowers large, last for a long time, calyx and tube acicular spined
stigma mostly green; fruits strong spined, juicy; seeds small to medium size, black

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Mexico - northern of Mexico City to
USA - California, Utah, Wyoming and South Dakota
very warm steppes

Growth period

sunny and hot, but some differences are recommend
1. with green, less spined stems, are easy to cultivate,
    should be protected against blazing sun in spring, after the flower time placing on a sunny location
2. with stronger spined stems, are somewhat sensitive to too much water, carefully watering
    placing on a location with full sun exposure
permanent moisture is to avoid, first watering should be in March
then constant watering, but always after the soil is dried, constant slightly moisture is needed to form buds during the spring
in early summer enough watering, in high summer and early fall sparsely watering
from late fall on to early spring keep them absolutly dry

Winter period

very bright and absolutly dry with a minimum of 42–50 F (6–10°C)
shrink of the stems is usual
some species are cold hardy and it is possible to cultivate them outdoor the whole year around


minerally, nutritious and peremable to water
addition of quartz gravel, pumice, expanded slate and some humus
Echinocereus viridiflorus G. Engelmann (1848)
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Habitat - Priest Canyon,
Torrance County, New Mexico, USA
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Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, Wyoming
in 2950–8860 ft (900–2700 m) altitude


green flowering Echinocereus
usually very small, 1–3 in (2.5–7.5 cm) long, 1–2 in (2.5–5.0 cm) Ø,
13 ribs
13–15 radial spines, 5 mm long, white, red or in those colors changing
central spines like the radial spines or absent
flowers 1.2 in (3 cm) long and broad, laterally, usually quite low at the stems, yellow-green,
inside with green and outside with brownish midvein
fruits greenish

Flowering time

April–May in cultivation
March–June in habitat
2–3 years from seed
Comment Echinocereus viridiflorus is with rain protection to about -4 F (- 20°C) cold hardy.
Synonyms Cereus viridiflorus (G. Engelmann) G. Engelmann (1849)
Echinocactus viridiflorus
(G. Engelmann) Pritzel (1866)
CITES Appendix II
Description of "Kakteen von A bis Z" by Walter Haage with courtesy by Kakteen-Haage made available.
Picture 7 with courtesy by © Rob Romero, Tucson, Arizona made available.