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Useful Temperate Plants

Echinocactus polycephalus

Engelm. & J.M.Bigelow

Cactaceae

+ Synonyms

Emorycactus polycephalus (Engelm. & J.M.Bigelow) Doweld

Homalocephala polycephala (Engelm. & J.M.Bigelow) Vargas & Bárcenas

Echinocactus xeranthemoides (J.M.Coult.) Engelm. ex K.Schum.

Emorycactus xeranthemoides (J.M.Coult.) Doweld

Common Name:

No Image.

General Information

Echinocactus polycephalus is a very spiny, evergreen, succulent barrel cactus that branches from the base to form compact mounds of usually 2 - 50 stems, though one old specimen examined had in excess of 150 stems. Individual stems are spherical to cylindrical, around 15 - 40cm tall and 15 - 30cm in diameter; plants can form clumps 50 - 100cm wide, exceptionall to 200cm[
270
Title
Flora of N. America
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://flora.huh.harvard.edu/fna/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An on-line version of the flora with an excellent description of the plant including a brief mention of plant uses.
,
1991
Title
Ajo Peak to Tinajas Altas: A flora in southwestern Arizona. Part 7. Eudicots: Cactaceae - Cactus Family
Publication
Phytoneuron 2014-69: 1-95
Author
Felger R.S. et al
Publisher
 
Year
2014
ISBN
2153 733X
Description
 
].
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a food. It is often grown as an ornamental.
Echinocactus polycephalus has a large range, and even though it is locally affected by urbanization and
illegal collection for horticulture, most of the subpopulations are abundant. The plant is classified as 'Least Concern' in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species(2017)[
338
Title
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.iucnredlist.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A list of plants under threat and facing possible extinction, usually with brief details of the threats and information on habitat.
].

Known Hazards

None known

Botanical References

270
Title
Flora of N. America
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://flora.huh.harvard.edu/fna/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An on-line version of the flora with an excellent description of the plant including a brief mention of plant uses.
,
1991
Title
Ajo Peak to Tinajas Altas: A flora in southwestern Arizona. Part 7. Eudicots: Cactaceae - Cactus Family
Publication
Phytoneuron 2014-69: 1-95
Author
Felger R.S. et al
Publisher
 
Year
2014
ISBN
2153 733X
Description
 

Range

Southwestern N. America - southern California, southern Nevada, Utah, Arizona, northern Mexico (Sonora)

Habitat

Rocky or gravelly soils of dry, hot slopes and sometimes clay soils of the valleys. in deserts and also on sandy soils.; at elevations from sea level to 1,500 metres[
338
Title
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.iucnredlist.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A list of plants under threat and facing possible extinction, usually with brief details of the threats and information on habitat.
].

Properties

Conservation StatusLeast Concern
Edibility Rating *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *
HabitEvergreen Shrub
Height0.30 m
Growth RateSlow
Cultivation StatusOrnamental, Wild

Cultivation Details

Echinocactus polycephalus is confined to some of the hottest, driest areas of the Sonoran and Mohave Deserts in northwestern Sonora, southwestern Arizona, southern Nevada, and southeastern California[
1991
Title
Ajo Peak to Tinajas Altas: A flora in southwestern Arizona. Part 7. Eudicots: Cactaceae - Cactus Family
Publication
Phytoneuron 2014-69: 1-95
Author
Felger R.S. et al
Publisher
 
Year
2014
ISBN
2153 733X
Description
 
]. Attempts to cultivate this species in Tucson, Arizona fail, probably due to too much rainfall (Tuscon recieves around 300mm per year)[
1991
Title
Ajo Peak to Tinajas Altas: A flora in southwestern Arizona. Part 7. Eudicots: Cactaceae - Cactus Family
Publication
Phytoneuron 2014-69: 1-95
Author
Felger R.S. et al
Publisher
 
Year
2014
ISBN
2153 733X
Description
 
].
In cultivation, Cactus plants generally will not succeed in moist climates. They usually require a sunny position in a well-drained, circumneutral soil and to be kept more or less dry in the dormant season[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].

Edible Uses

Sliced pieces of the stems have been eaten, often boiled or pit-baked[
1991
Title
Ajo Peak to Tinajas Altas: A flora in southwestern Arizona. Part 7. Eudicots: Cactaceae - Cactus Family
Publication
Phytoneuron 2014-69: 1-95
Author
Felger R.S. et al
Publisher
 
Year
2014
ISBN
2153 733X
Description
 
]. The stems have been made into a cactus candy[
1991
Title
Ajo Peak to Tinajas Altas: A flora in southwestern Arizona. Part 7. Eudicots: Cactaceae - Cactus Family
Publication
Phytoneuron 2014-69: 1-95
Author
Felger R.S. et al
Publisher
 
Year
2014
ISBN
2153 733X
Description
 
].

Flower buds[
1991
Title
Ajo Peak to Tinajas Altas: A flora in southwestern Arizona. Part 7. Eudicots: Cactaceae - Cactus Family
Publication
Phytoneuron 2014-69: 1-95
Author
Felger R.S. et al
Publisher
 
Year
2014
ISBN
2153 733X
Description
 
].

Seeds[
1991
Title
Ajo Peak to Tinajas Altas: A flora in southwestern Arizona. Part 7. Eudicots: Cactaceae - Cactus Family
Publication
Phytoneuron 2014-69: 1-95
Author
Felger R.S. et al
Publisher
 
Year
2014
ISBN
2153 733X
Description
 
].

Species of Echinocactus can be used as an emergency source of water. The stem is removed from the plant and the spines burnt off. It is then cut open and the cortex pounded with a rock or sharp stick until the center is mashed and liquid collects in the cavity. Alternatively, moisture can be squeezed out of the pulp and into a container by hand. The liquid is said to be refreshing, though unpleasant and slimy to the taste[
1987
Title
The Cactus Family
Publication
 
Author
Anderson E.F.
Publisher
Timber Press; Portland, Oregon
Year
2001
ISBN
0-88192-498-9
Description
An excellent work, giving botanical descriptions of virtually all the cacti, together with their range (but not their habitats) and sometimes also a photo. it also contains a long chapter detailing the many uses of cacti and another on cultivation..
].

Medicinal

None known

Other Uses

The spines are used to make awls to use in basketmaking[
1987
Title
The Cactus Family
Publication
 
Author
Anderson E.F.
Publisher
Timber Press; Portland, Oregon
Year
2001
ISBN
0-88192-498-9
Description
An excellent work, giving botanical descriptions of virtually all the cacti, together with their range (but not their habitats) and sometimes also a photo. it also contains a long chapter detailing the many uses of cacti and another on cultivation..
,
1991
Title
Ajo Peak to Tinajas Altas: A flora in southwestern Arizona. Part 7. Eudicots: Cactaceae - Cactus Family
Publication
Phytoneuron 2014-69: 1-95
Author
Felger R.S. et al
Publisher
 
Year
2014
ISBN
2153 733X
Description
 
].

Propagation

Seed -
Cite as: Temperate Plants Database, Ken Fern. temperate.theferns.info. 2023-01-29. <temperate.theferns.info/plant/Echinocactus+polycephalus>

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