Cactaceae Echinocereus triglochidiatus

Bright reddish orange flowers on top of a cactus plant.

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.

Last updated: February 13, 2022

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