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PlantFiles: Mexican Claret-Cup, California Hedgehog, Cream-flowered Hedgehog
Echinocereus coccineus

Family: Cactaceae (kak-TAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Echinocereus (ek-in-oh-KER-ee-us) (Info)
Species: coccineus (kok-SIN-ee-us) (Info)

Synonym:Echinocereus aggregatus
Synonym:Echinocereus coccineus subsp. coccineus
Synonym:Echinocereus roemeri
Synonym:Echinocereus krausei
Synonym:Echinocereus kunzei

5 members have or want this plant for trade.

Cactus and Succulents

6-12 in. (15-30 cm)
12-18 in. (30-45 cm)

24-36 in. (60-90 cm)
36-48 in. (90-120 cm)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun
Sun to Partial Shade
Light Shade

Plant has spines or sharp edges; use extreme caution when handling

Bloom Color:

Bloom Time:
Mid Spring

Unknown - Tell us

Other details:
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping
Suitable for growing in containers

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)
From woody stem cuttings
Allow cut surface to callous over before planting
From seed; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:
Allow unblemished fruit to ripen; clean and dry seeds
Unblemished fruit must be significantly overripe before harvesting seed; clean and dry seeds
Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored

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3 positives
1 neutral
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive bmcdanel On Jun 17, 2013, bmcdanel from Lawton, OK wrote:

This cactus blooms with bright red flowers in my garden in April or May depending on how warm the spring is. Regrettably, the very attractive flowers only last a day or two. It is very hardy, surviving absolutely brutal Oklahoma winters and summers much hotter than its native enviroment. I got mine in Las Cruces, New Mexico five years ago. It has slowly increased to a cluster of six stalks and continues to grow. According to some references, it produces very small amounts of digitalis, a heart medicine.

Positive cactuspatch On Mar 22, 2009, cactuspatch from Alamogordo, NM (Zone 7b) wrote:

Many of these grow native in my area. There are large clumps behind the Space Museum on Scenic Drive, if you get to Alamogordo in the Spring. I love the blooms, some of mine are light pink, others dark fushia colored.

Positive oldmudhouse On Jun 8, 2007, oldmudhouse from Las Cruces, NM (Zone 8a) wrote:

A number of these plants are native to my yard, located in full sun as well as under the protective shade of native Creosote Bush (Larrea tridentata.) Some are difficult to see until the bright orange-red blooms in Spring make them impossible to miss! The bloom period of large plants can extend over a period of weeks, with each bloom remaining open for several days and nights. Too much rain can cause vertical splits in the stems; if this occurs, the splits can heal but the scars are permanent. My healthiest plants are those in elevated locations with excellent drainage. Wonderful additions to any native landscape!

Neutral Xenomorf On May 3, 2005, Xenomorf from Valley of the Sun, AZ (Zone 9b) wrote:

The books that I have lists the flower color as orange-red.
I haven't found a separate variety epithet for the pinkish colored version of E. coccineus, if one exists at all, but apparently there is a rare form/variety that has pink flowers.

This species is easily and often confused with Echinocereus triglochidiatus and is frequently found in nature to hybridize with it.
Other popular common names are 'Golden Rainbow Hedgehog'& 'White-spined Claret-cup Cactus'.
This species is used medicinally as a heart stimulant.
The 'coccineus' subspecies has stems that are 1 to 2 inches thick with 8 to 11 ribs. The spines nondifferentiatable between centrals & radials. There are 0 to 4 central spines and 5 to 20 radial spines per areole. The red-orange flower is 3 inches across and the stigma has 7 or 8 lobes.
The 'arizonicus' variety is listed as an endangered species.
The 'paucispinus' variety has stems that are about 2.4 inches thick with 5 to 8 acute narrowly furrowed ribs that have areoles that are 0.4 to 0.8 inches spaced. 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 2 inches long having 7 lobes of the stigma.
The 'gurneyi' variety clumps to over 10 stems that are darker green in color compared to the other varieties and 4 inches thick. The stems have 8 to 11 ribs that have 1 central spine up to 3 inches long and 5 to 12 radial spines per areole. The flowers are Orangish-red. This variety is often included into the 'coccineus' subspecies.
The 'toroweapensis' cultivar at one time was considered to be a subspecies.

Other valid synonyms are:
Echinocereus rosei
Echinocereus steerae
Echinocereus hildmannii
Echinocereus decumbens
Echinocereus neomexicanus
Echinocereus canyonensis
Echinocereus engelmannii subsp. decumbens
Echinocereus pectinatus subsp. ctenoides
Echinocereus coccineus subsp. rosei
Echinocereus coccineus subsp. roemeri
Echinocereus coccineus subsp. aggregatus
Cereus hexaedrus
Cereus aggregata
Escobaria aggregata
Coryphantha aggregata
Mammillaria aggregata


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Alamogordo, New Mexico
Las Cruces, New Mexico
Mesilla Park, New Mexico
Roswell, New Mexico
Lawton, Oklahoma

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