Echinocereus reichenbachii

Echinocereus reichenbachii
Echinocereus reichenbachii by RO.jpg
var. reichenbachii

Secure (NatureServe)
Scientific classification
E. reichenbachii
Binomial name
Echinocereus reichenbachii
(Terscheck ex Walp.) Haage f.[1]

Echinocereus reichenbachii (commonly known as lace or hedgehog cactus) is a perennial plant and shrub in the cactus family. The species is native to the Chihuahuan Desert and parts of northern Mexico and the southern United States, where they grow at elevations up to 1,500 meters (4,900 ft). This cactus earned the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.

E. reichenbachii is one of the smaller Echinocereus species. They reach 7.5 to 30 centimetres (3.0 to 11.8 in) tall and 4 to 10 centimetres (1.6 to 3.9 in) wide. Plants are solitary or clustered in as many as 12, with erect stems that have 10 to 19 ribs. The stems are dark green and often obscured by the spines, which range from tan, brown, black, or pink, and the tips are usually darker than the shaft. The areoles are elliptical or oval, with seven to 36 spines each. The purple or pink flowers bloom in early May to late June, growing to approximately 4.5 to 8 centimetres (1.8 to 3.1 in) by 5 to 10 centimetres (2.0 to 3.9 in). E. reichenbachii are cold and heat tolerant, and prefer dry, well-drained soils near rock outcroppings.


The scientific name, Echinocereus, comes from the Greek ekinos, meaning hedgehog, and cereus, the Latin term for wax paper.[2] The specific epithet honors the German botanist Ludwig Reichenbach.[3] Common names include Lace hedgehog cactus, Lace cactus, Lace hedgehog, Purple candle, and Órgano-pequeño de colores.[4]

In 1843, German botanist Carl Adolf Terscheck named a specimen of cactus collected in Mexico Echinocactus reichenbachii, but his description was incomplete and proved unhelpful to later scholars. During the years 1848 to 1856, George Engelmann made extensive studies of a plant he named Echinocereus caespitosus.[5] Prior to this Joseph zu Salm-Reifferscheidt-Dyck referred to plants in European collections as Echinopsis pectinate var. reichenbachiana, and he later discussed the possibility with Engelmann that these two plants were one and the same.[6]

Despite the early indication of a naming error, Engelmann's binomial was used to describe the plant until 1893, when F.A. Haage Jr. changed Terscheck's Echinocactus reichenbachii to Echinocereus reichenbachii, which Nathaniel Lord Britton and Joseph Nelson Rose later adopted. This broke with the long-standing botanical tradition to use the earliest known name, but because Terscheck's description was lacking and possibly referred to as many as a dozen species, his binomial was supplanted by Haage's.[6]