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Accepted Scientific Name: Echinocereus enneacanthus Engelm. in Wisliz.
Mem. Tour N. Mexico [Wislizenus] 111-112. 1848. Wisliz., Wisliz., Wisliz.
Origin and Habitat: Garden origin (Nursery produced cultivar)
Echinocereus enneacanthus Engelm. in Wisliz.
Mem. Tour N. Mexico [Wislizenus] 111-112. 1848.
- Echinocereus enneacanthus Engelm. in Wisliz.
- Cereus enneacanthus Engelm.
- Echinocereus dubius (Engelm.) Engelm. in C.F.Först.
- Echinocereus enneacanthus f. cristata hort.
- Echinocereus enneacanthus f. intermedius W.O.Moore
- Echinocereus merkeri Hildm. ex K.Schum.
- Cereus merkeri (Hildm.) A.Berger
- Echinocereus sarissophorus Britton & Rose
- Echinocereus uspenskii F.Haage
Echinocereus enneacanthus subs. brevispinus (W.O.Moore) N.P.Taylor
Cactaceae Consensus Init. 3: 8. 1997
- Echinocereus enneacanthus subs. brevispinus (W.O.Moore) N.P.Taylor
- Echinocereus enneacanthus var. brevispinus (W.O.Moore) L.D.Benson
- Echinocereus enneacanthus f. brevispinus W.O.Moore
- Echinocereus enneacanthus var. carnosus (Rümpler) Quehl
- Echinocereus carnosus Rümpler
Description: Echinocereus enneacanthus is a caespitose cactus forming dense or lax clumps either loose decumbent, or erect with 20-100(-500) branches, usually branching before flowering. Two subspecies are recognized, the nominate form and subsp. brevispinus.
Crested Form: This is one of the nicest crested cacti that on rare occasions develops. Crested plants often results in several flowers appearing at one time along the line meristem. It is best maintained by grafting it on to a columnar stock (e.g. Trichocereus, Harrisia, Myrtillocactus).
Stems: Cylindrical, the longest sometimes prostrate, 5-14 cm diameter up to over 100 cm long (but usually much shorter). The stems of this species are soft or flaccid, pale to bright green and often remain wrinkled.
Ribs: 7-12 with uninterrupted but prominent warty crests.
Areoles: Circular 18-52 mm apart.
Radial spines: 5-9 per areole, 25-45 mm long, straight or slightly curved, needle-like, more or less flattened, bulbous at the base, brownish, often tipped or banded with darker brown.
Central spines: 1-5 per areole, 55-95 mm long, divergent, porrect, flattened, stout, and slightly curved, opaque, white, tan, brown or grey, often nearly black.
Flowers. Funnelform 7-11 cm in diameter, purple-red to pink in varying shades with deep reddish throat, and diurnal. Filaments greenish to pink. Anthers yellow. Stigma green. Style whitish.
Blooming season: It flowers in early spring (April through June in habitat) during mid-morning. Flowers close at night and reopen for 2-4 days. The fruits ripen in late summer.
Fruit: Round to ovoid pale yellow-green or dull reddish, , maturing to bright red, 20-30 mm, pulp white or pale pink. The fruit is edible. After the spines are removed from the green-brown flesh of the fruit, it can be eaten and tastes similar to strawberry, hence the name strawberry cactus.
Seeds: 1,0-1,4 mm, black irregular, globular, or ovoid tuberculate.
Subspecies, varieties, forms and cultivars of plants belonging to the Echinocereus enneacanthus group
- Echinocereus enneacanthus Engelm. in Wisliz.: (subsp. enneacanthus) has stems that are 5 to 25 cm thick; Central spines long and divergent 1-5 per areole, 55-95 mm; radial spines curved up to 4 cm long. Distribution: Big Bend region of the Trans-Pecos, ans west to El Paso.
- Echinocereus enneacanthus subs. brevispinus (W.O.Moore) N.P.Taylor: has stems that are less than 5 inches thick; Erect and straight central spines and radial spines that are les less than 1.5 cm long. Distribution: New Mexico, south Texas and northern Mexico.
- Echinocereus enneacanthus f. cristata hort.: crested form.
- Echinocereus sarissophorus Britton & Rose: has a stout, stubby habit and very long, usually stiff, often bluish spines. Distribution: Coahuila and Chihuahua, Mexico.
Bibliography: Major references and further lectures
1) Goettsch, B.K., Gómez-Hinostrosa, C., Heil, K., Terry, M. & Corral-Díaz, R. 2013. Echinocereus enneacanthus. In: IUCN 2013. "IUCN Red List of Threatened Species." Version 2013.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 16 January 2014.
2) Forrest Shreve, Ira Loren Wiggins “Vegetation and Flora of the Sonoran Desert” Volume 1 Stanford University Press, 1964
3) Edward Anderson “The Cactus family” Timber Press, Incorporated, 2001
4) James Cullen, Sabina G. Knees, H. Suzanne Cubey "The European Garden Flora Flowering Plants: A Manual for the Identification of Plants Cultivated in Europe, Both Out-of-Doors and Under Glass" Cambridge University Press, 11/Aug/2011
5) David R Hunt; Nigel P Taylor; Graham Charles; International Cactaceae Systematics Group. "The New Cactus Lexicon" dh books, 2006
6) Urs Eggli, Leonard E. Newton: “Etymological Dictionary of Succulent Plant Names” Springer, Berlin/Heidelberg 2010
7) Ulises Guzmán, Salvador Arias, Patricia Dávila "Catálogo de cactáceas mexicanas." Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Mexiko-State 2003
8) Delena Tull “Edible and Useful Plants of Texas and the Southwest: A Practical Guide” University of Texas Press, 1999
9) Brian Loflin, Shirley Loflin “Texas Cacti: A Field Guide” Texas A&M University Press, 26/ott/2009
Cultivation and Propagation: Echinocereus enneacanthus f. cristata is not too difficult in a greenhouse, although grows quite slowly. It is usually seen as a grafted plant but can grow on its own roots too.
Soil: Use a mineral well permeable soil with little organic matter (peat, humus).
Exposure: They need a good amount of light shade to full sun this help to keep the plants healthy, although slow growth.
Watering: Water sparingly from March till October (weekly during summertime, if the weather is sunny enough), with a little fertilizer added. Less or no water during cold winter months, or when night temperatures remain below 10° to prevent root loss. It is sensitive to overwatering (rot prone).
Fertilization: Feeding may not be necessary at all if the compost is fresh then, feed in summer only if the plant hasn't been repotted recently. Do not feed the plants from September onwards as this can cause lush growth which can be fatal during the darker cold months.
Hardiness: Keep perfectly dry in winter at temperatures from 5 to 15 degrees centigrade. (but it is relatively cold resistant and hardy to -5° C, or possibly colder for short periods) In the rest period no high atmospheric humidity!! (Temperature Zone: USDA 9-11)
Crested growth: Unlike 'monstrose' varieties of plants, where the variation from normal growth is due to genetic mutation, crested growth can occur on normal plants. Sometimes it's due to variances in light intensity, or damage, but generally the causes are unknown. A crested plant may have some areas growing normally, and a cresting plant that looks like a brain, may revert to normal growth for no apparent reason. If you have any of the crested part left you need to remove the normal growth and leave the crested part behind this will need to be done regularly.
Propagation: Grafting or cuttings. Plants are usually grafted onto column-shaped cacti but proved to be able to produce their own roots if degrafted. Cuttings will take root in a minimum temperature of 20° C (but better in hot weather). Cuttings of healthy shoots can be taken in the spring and summer. Cut the stem with a sharp, sterile knife, leave the cutting in a warm, dry place for a week or weeks (depending on how thick the cutting is) until a callus forms over the wound. Once the callus forms, the cutting may be inserted in a container filled with firmed cactus potting mix topped with a surface layer of coarse grit. They should be placed in the coarse grit only; this prevents the cut end from becoming too wet and allows the roots to penetrate the rich compost underneath. The cuttings should root in 2 to 6 weeks. Large crested piece must be placed on the soil surface without burying the plant base down in the soil.
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