The taxonomy of this genus is complicated due to fuzzy taxonomic boundaries, polytypic taxa, and differing interpretations by specialists. Most North American botanists recognize about 50 species, while the Echinocereus specialists in Germany recognize more than 70 species[
]. We are following the treatment of David Hunt, 2016 in CITES Cactaceae Checklist, Third Edition, ISBN 978-0-9933113-2-1.
Cereus aggregatus J.M.Coult.
Cereus coccineus (Engelm.) Engelm.
Cereus conoideus Engelm. & J.M.Bigelow
Cereus phoeniceus Engelm.
Echinocereus aggregatus Rydb.
Echinocereus canyonensis Clover & Jotter
Echinocereus conoideus (Engelm. & J.M.Bigelow) Rümpler
Echinocereus decumbens Clover & Jotter
Echinocereus engelmannii decumbens (Clover & Jotter) W.Blum & Mich.Lange
Echinocereus krausei De Smet
Echinocereus monacanthus Heese
Echinocereus phoeniceus (Engelm.) Lem.
Echinocereus toroweapensis (P.C.Fisch.) Fürsch
Echinocereus triglochidiatus coccineus (Engelm.) U.Guzmán
Echinocereus triglochidiatus inermis (K.Schum.) Arp
Echinocereus triglochidiatus melanacanth (Engelm.) L.D.Benson
Echinocereus triglochidiatus toroweapens P.C.Fisch.
Cereus paucispinus Engelm.
Echinocereus paucispinus (Engelm.) Haage
Echinocereus triglochidiatus paucispinus (Engelm.) W.T.Marshall
Cereus roemeri Muehlenpf.
Echinocereus roemeri (Muehlenpf.) Engelm. ex Haage
Echinocereus rosei Wooton & Standl.
Echinocereus triglochidiatus rosei (Wooton & Standl.) W.T.Marshall
Common Name: Scarlet Hedgehog Cactus
Echinocereus coccineus is a spiny, evergreen, succulent, perennial cactus with cylindrical stems. Many-branched from the base, it forms clumps or compact mounds of usually 20 - 100 cylindrical stems, exceptionally up to 500 stems; the stems are around 5 - 40cm tall and 4 - 15cm in diameter, forming a clump that can be more than 100cm wide[
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a food and a medicine. It is often grown as an ornamental.
Echinocereus coccineus has a very large extent of occurrence, is abundant, and there are no major
threats. The plant is classified as 'Least Concern' in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species(2017)[
There are conflicting reports on edibility and toxicity for this species. There are some that say the fruit is edible, having a white pulp with a strawberry-like flavour[
], whilst another report says that some Native Americans considered the fruit of this species to be poisonous and only used it medicinally[
Southwest N. America - Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, northeast Mexico (Chihuahua, Coahuila, Sonora).
Chihuahuan Desert, desert scrub, desert grasslands, pinyon-juniper and oak woodlands, Great Plains grasslands, montane forest, bajadas, rocky slopes, and cliffs, igneous, metamorphic, and limestone substrates; at elevations from 150 - 2,700 metres[
|Conservation Status||Least Concern
|Pollinators||Humming Birds, Bees
|Cultivation Status||Ornamental, Wild
Echinocereus coccineus is a plant of semi-arid and arid regions of southwest N. America, requiring hot summers and a period of cool winter rest if flower-buds are to be produced the following spring. Plants in the wild are known to experience some frost and, in cultivation, can withstand short periods with temperatures down to aound -5°c during this winter rest so long as they are kept dry[
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[
Whilst most plants are hermaphrodite, some plants only have flowers of one sex[
Fruit - raw[
]. A white pulp with a strawberry-like flavour[
].The greenish or yellowish to pinkish, bright red or brownish tinged fruit is usually 20 - 40,, in diameter, occasionally up to 72mm[
]. One report says that some Native Americans considered the fruit of this species to be poisonous and only used it medicinally[
The plant, part not specified, is used as a heart stimulant[
The fruit is used as a heart stimulant[
Seed - surface sow on a finely sieved compost and place under a glass or transparent plastic cover in a temperature of 20°c.
Cuttings of detached branches. Leave the freshly taken cuttings in a warm, dry, airy position for the cut surface to callus, then place them in a sandy compost,