Echinocereus triglochidiatus var. melancanthus
Family: Cactaceae - Cactus Family
Perennial herbaceous succulents; 3.2” to 6” (8 to 15 centimeters) tall; 1.2” to 2.4” (3 to 6 centimeters) thick
Leaves: spines are modified leaves; has fleshy pads, 9 or 10 ribs
Flowers: showy; red; generally bisexual, petaloid sepals; stamens numerous, 1 style; flowers 0.2” to 0.3” (5 to 7.5 mm) long
Pollinators: other genuses in this family are pollinated by insects
Fruits: large dry or fleshy many-seeded berry
Blooms in Arches National Park: April, May, June
Habitat in Arches National Park: desert shrub and pinyon-juniper communities
Location seen: Delicate Arch Viewpoint, Courthouse Wash rock art panel, Freshwater Canyon , outside Arches National Park on the trail to Corona Arch and on Rough & Rocky Mesa
Other: The genus name, “Echinocereus”, is from the Greek “echinos” which means “hedgehog” referring to this plant's resemblance to the animal. The species name, “triglochidiatus”, means “with three barbed bristles” coming from the Greek "tri" which means “three” and “glochis” which means “a point” referring to the straight spines arranged in clusters of three. The variety name, “melanacanthus”, means a “black spine”.
Root systems are shallow unless deep water. Stomates (pores) are open during the night, allowing entry of carbon dioxide, which is chemically stored; during the day the carbon dioxide is used in photosynthesis.
Did You Know?
In the late 1800s, John Wesley Wolfe, a disabled Civil War veteran, and his son, Fred, built a homestead in what is now Arches National Park. A weathered log cabin, root cellar, and corral remain as evidence of the primitive ranch they operated for more than 10 years.