Echinocereus coccineus, Scarlet Hedgehog Cactus
Scientific Name: Echinocereus coccineus
Common Name: Scarlet Hedgehog Cactus
Also Called: Claret-cup Cactus, Kingcup Cactus, Gurney's Hedgehog Cactus, Arizona Hedgehog Cactus
Family:Cactaceae, Cactus Family
Synonyms: (Echinocereus aggregatus, Echinocereus coccineus subsp. paucispinus, Echinocereus phoeniceus var. inermis, Echinocereus triglochidiatus var. melanacanthus, Echinocereus triglochidiatus var. octacanthus, Echinocereus triglochidiatus var. paucispinus, Echinocereus triglochidiatus var. polyacanthus, Echinocereus triglochidiatus var. toroweapensis)
Size: Up to 16 inches or so.
Growth Form: Shrub; hedgehog type cactus; several small cylindric erect stems in clumps or mounds up to 3 feet wide, 20 to 100 stems.
Leaves: Leaves modified into spines 5 to 16 emerging from areoles, spines white to yellow, reddish-brown or black, often dark tipped; lacking glochids.
Flower Color: Red, crimson, scarlet rarely orange-red or rose-pink, anthers pink or purple or rarely yellow, stigma lobes green; plants dioecious; flowers bisexual; fruits juicy and spiny, brownish or reddish or green, pulp white; fruiting 2 to 3 months after flowering.
Flowering Season: March to June.
Elevation: 4,000 to 9,000 feet.
Habitat Preferences: Bajadas, rocky slopes, and cliffs, desert scrub, desert grasslands, pinyon-juniper and oak woodlands, Great Plains grasslands; montane forests, Chihuahuan desert species.
Recorded Range: In the United States Scarlet Hedgehog Cactus is found in AZ, CA, CO, NV, OK, NM, TX. Also found in northern Mexico (Chihuahua, Coahuila, Sonora). In Arizona Scarlet Hedgehog Cactus is found throughout most of the state with few or no records for the southwestern part of the state.
North America & US County Distribution Map for Echinocereus coccineus.
U.S. Weed Information: No information available.
Invasive/Noxious Weed Information: No information available.
Wetland Indicator: No information available.
Threatened/Endangered Information: Arizona: Echinocereus coccineus is salvage restricted.
Genus Information: In North America there are 28 species for Echinocereus. Worldwide, The Plant List includes 64 accepted species names and a further 353 scientific names of infraspecific rank for the genus.
In the Southwestern United States: Arizona has 14 species of genus, California, Nevada and Utah each have 3 species, New Mexico has 12 species and Texas has 15 species. All data is approximate and subject to taxonomic changes.There are 4 varieties in Echinocereus coccineus:
Echinocereus coccineus var. arizonicus, Arizona Hedgehog Cactus (AZ);
Echinocereus coccineus var. coccineus, Scarlet Hedgehog Cactus (see above);
Echinocereus coccineus var. gurneyi, Gurney's Hedgehog Cactus (NM, TX) and
Echinocereus coccineus var. paucispinus, Scarlet Hedgehog Cactus (TX).
Comments: Scarlet Hedgehog Cactus is often used as an ornalmental species in rock gardens or container gardens.
In Southwest Desert Flora also see: Pinkflower Hedgehog, Echinocereus bonkerae, Hedgehog Cactus, Echinocereus engelmannii, Pinkflower Hedgehog Cactus, Echinocereus fasciculatus and Rainbow Hedgehog Cactus, Echinocereus rigidissimus.
Scarlet Hedgehog Cactus has been used for food, medicinal and other purposes by southwestern United States indigenous peoples.
See complete listing of ethno-botanical uses at Native American Ethnobotany, University of Michigan, Dearborn.