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 stramineus Engelm.
Echinocereus enneacanthus stramineus (Engelm.) L.D.Benson
Cereus conglomeratus (C.F.Först. ex K.Schum.) A.Berger
Echinocereus conglomeratus C.F.Först. ex K.Schum.
Echinocereus enneacanthus conglomeratus (C.F.Först. ex K.Schum.) L.D.Benson
Echinocereus stramineus is a spiny, evergreen, succulent shrubby cactus. Many-branched from the base, it forms clumps or compact mounds of usually 20 - 100 cylindrical stems, exceptionally up to 500 stems; the stems can be up to 45cm tall and 8cm in diameter, forming a clump that can be more than 100cm wide[
The plant is commonly harvested from the wild for its fruit, which is often sold in local markets. It is also often grown as an ornamental.
Echinocereus stramineus has a very wide range, is abundant, and grows in inaccessible places not suitable for farming or agriculture. The plant is classified as 'Least Concern' in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species(2017)[
Southern N. America - New Mexico, Texas, northern Mexico (Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo León).
Chihuahuan desert scrub, rocky slopes, rarely flats, igneous and sedimentary substrates; at elevations from 500 - 1,800 metres[
]. Rocky limestone slopes in full sun, in desert scrub and pine forest[
Echinocereus stramineus 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[
]. Requires a hot, sunny position in a well-drained soil.
The densely branched stems of Echinocereus stramineus form hemispheric mounds bristling with unusually long, yellow-tinted spines, thus appearing like a heap of straw; old clumps of these cacti are unique visual dominants on many rocky slopes in the Chihuahuan Desert[
Rare white-flowered individuals occur[
Flowering on plants less than 30cm in diameter is uncommon.
Fruit - raw or cooked[
] The delicious ripe fruits are aromatic and very fleshy. They taste of strawberries and contain blackish seeds of up to 1.5 mm diameter. The pulp can range from white to pale pink, individual fruits varying on same plant[
]. The bright pinkish-brown fruit, with its characteristic reticulate pattern of slightly darker or greener colour between flattened tubercles, is usually 35 - 40mm in diameter, exceptionally to 50mm[
]. The fruits of this species may be the largest in the genus, they are spiny until ripe but upon ripening lose their spines and turn red[
The fruit is used in the treatment of diabetes[
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,