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Accepted Scientific Name: Echinocereus engelmannii (Parry ex Engelm.) Lem.
Cactées 56. 1868
Origin and Habitat: Echinocereus engelmannii var. munzii is endemic to a small area in the lower margin of the arid transition zone in the desert side of the San Bernardino and San Jacinto Mountains, Southern California, USA, and probably the Laguna mountains. It is also found southward in adjacent Sierra Juarez in northern Baja California. Mexico.
Altitude range: 1,300 to 2,700 metres elevation.
Habitat and ecology: This cactus grows in dry stony slopes, gravel, or sand and rock crevices of mountains and canyons in yellow-pine forest and chaparral (which may resemble superficially the Juniper-Pinyon Woodland) and in alpine meadow on gently rolling ridges of the San Bernardino Mountain above Baldwin Lake.
- Echinocereus engelmannii var. munzii (Parish) W.Pierce & Fosberg
Echinocereus engelmannii (Parry ex Engelm.) Lem.
Cactées 56. 1868
- Echinocereus engelmannii (Parry ex Engelm.) Lem.
- Cereus engelmannii Parry ex Engelm.
- Echinocereus engelmannii (Parry ex Engelm.) Rümpler in C.F.Först.
- Echinocereus engelmannii var. acicularis L.D.Benson in L.D.Benson
- Echinocereus engelmannii var. armatus L.D.Benson
- Echinocereus engelmannii var. chrysocentrus (Engelm. & J.M.Bigelow) Rümpler in C.F.Först.
- Cereus engelmannii var. chrysocentrus Engelm. & J.M.Bigelow
- Echinocereus chrysocentrus (Engelm. & J.M.Bigelow) Orcutt
- Echinocereus engelmannii var. howei L.D.Benson
- Echinocereus engelmannii var. munzii (Parish) W.Pierce & Fosberg
- Echinocereus engelmannii var. purpureus L.D.Benson
- Echinocereus chrysocentrus var. purpureus (L.D.Benson) hort.
- Echinocereus engelmannii var. variegatus (Engelm. & J.M.Bigelow) Rümpler in C.F.Först.
ENGLISH: Munz's Nigger-head, Munz's hedgehog cactus, Strawberry Hedgehog
Description: Echinocereus engelmannii var. munzii, is a closely related mountain form of Echinocereus engelmannii, but some authors still recognize Echinocereus munzii as a separate species. The "var. munzii" is the smallest of all the variants of E. engelmannii, and superficially resembles Echinocereus triglochidiatus var. mojavensis. It is distinguished by the betacyanin pigmentation (magenta, i.e. red with blue, coloring) of the flowers (neither a pure red nor with yellow) and by the 4 central spines (except in an occasional areole) instead of 1. If the plants are not flowering with the typical Echinocereus engelmannii flowers it would be difficult to associate them with this species at all. White spines twist up from the small bodies. So small are the individual bodies that Parish, who described it originally, sought to differentiate it from Echinocereus triglochidiatus on the basis of flower colour!
Habit: It is a cespitose compact cactus species with very few to 60 stems crowded in cushion-like clumps.
Stems: Oblong, 10-20 cm long.
Ribs: 10-20, undulate, low.
Spines: All white to ashy grey, radials 0-16, acicular to narrowly subulate, spreading and interlocking, unequal, 2-3 cm long. Central spines 1-4, stouter than the radials, 2.5-5 cm long.
Flowers: Campanulate, 4-7 cm long, 3-4 cm broad when expanded, cerise-pink to magenta. Perianth-segments obtuse. Floral tube and ovary clothed with clusters of unequal, white acicular spines 5-12 mm long, embedded in short, felt-like white wool.
Fruit: Obovoid 2-2.5 cm long, red, clothed with clusters of acicular readily deciduous spines.
Subspecies, varieties, forms and cultivars of plants belonging to the Echinocereus engelmannii group
- Echinocereus engelmannii (Parry ex Engelm.) Lem.: ( var. engelmannii) ha 4 to 6 central spines whitish, golden-yellow, reddish brown to nearly black. It is a highly variable species. Distribution: Southwestern USA (California, Nevada, and Arizona) and northwestern Mexico (Baja California and Sonora).
- Echinocereus engelmannii var. acicularis L.D.Benson in L.D.Benson: has only 2-4 central spines and more robust habit. Distribution: California, Arizona, Baja California and Sonora.
- Echinocereus engelmannii var. armatus L.D.Benson: is the most formidably spiny extreme of the species, central spines up to 13 cm long. Distribution: California and Nevada.
- Echinocereus engelmannii var. chrysocentrus (Engelm. & J.M.Bigelow) Rümpler in C.F.Först.: has 5-6 very stout yellowish to brown central spines, up to 7 cm long (or more), but it is very variable. Distribution: California, Nevada, Arizona, and Utah.
- Echinocereus engelmannii var. howei L.D.Benson: Distribution: California and Nevada.
- Echinocereus engelmannii var. munzii (Parish) W.Pierce & Fosberg: is a mountain form with white spines twisting up up from small bodies, with 4 central spines (except in an occasional areole) instead of 1 and magenta flowers. Distribution: California and Baja California.
- Echinocereus engelmannii var. purpureus L.D.Benson: is a dark-colored, short-spined morphological form that occurs interspersed throughout populations of Echinocereus engelmannii var. chrysocentrus. Distribution: Utah.
- Echinocereus engelmannii var. variegatus (Engelm. & J.M.Bigelow) Rümpler in C.F.Först.: has multicoloured dark-colored spines, typically the central spines are long red or black and contrasts nicely with the white radial spines. Distribution: Arizona and Utah.
Bibliography: Major references and further lectures
1) Le Roy Abrams, Roxana Stinchfield Ferris “An Illustrated Flora of the Pacific States: Geraniaceae to Scrophulariaceae, geraniums to figworts” Stanford University Press, 1923
2) Lyman David Benson “The Native Cacti of California” Stanford University Press, 1969
3) George Lindsay “Cacti of San Diego County: A Non-technical Guide” San Diego Society of Natural History, 1963
4) George Lindsay “Occasional Papers”, Ed. 11-15 San Diego Society of Natural History, The Society., 1961
5) British Cactus & Succulent Journal, Volume 23, page 114, Cactus & Succulent Society, 2005
6) Elmer Yale Dawson “The Cacti of California” University of California Press, 1966
Cultivation and Propagation: Echinocereus engelmannii var. munzii grows rather slowly and it is sensitive to overwatering (rot prone) and needs a very good drainage to avoid rotting, but requires more moisture than true desert cacti to grow and produce flower.
Soil: Use a loose well drained cactus mix.
Repotting: It require a deep pot suited to accommodate the swollen root, repotting with fresh potting-mix should be done every other year or when the plant has outgrown its pot. However, repotting doesn't necessarily mean they'll need larger containers.
Sun Exposure: Light shade when young, full sun later. Outside it likes strong sunshine, but is tolerant and do well with light shade during the hot Summer months. Tends to bronze in strong light, which encourages spine production.
Hardiness: It is cold resistant to -10° ( or less depending on clones) for short periods of time. It will show its flowers only if we provide an adequate winter rest period.
Watering: They require moderately watering through the growing season. This can be done weekly or more frequently during the summertime, if the weather is sunny enough, but allow to dry fully before watering again. Kept this way, plants will show a healthy growth. Keep rather dry as soon as the temperature starts dropping in October and keep it dry in winter. The plant survives outside without protection in winter (cold hardy to -5° ) but is then somewhat prone to rot, too.
Fertilization: Give an occasional high potassium liquid feed during the active growing period.
Garden uses: It is a fine plant for a rock garden or container, contrasts well with agaves, yuccas, and low-growing flowering plants. Nice planted with Agave utahensis, another very hardy species.
Pest and diseases: They are generally fairly easy to grow, especially if kept pest-free. They are susceptible to, scale insects and spider mite. Watch carefully for infestations of stem and root mealy bugs, and damage from these may well initiate fungal attack.
Propagation: Seeds, also can be grown from cutting as it branches from the base. Take cuttings spring or summer, let them dry till the ends callous well. Then replant them in fresh cactus soil that is ever so slightly moist, and keep it that way till they root. Surface sowing is the best; seeds germinate in 14-28 days at 20° C, remembering that seedlings dislike strong light and dry conditions.
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