All Pink Cactus Flowers are NOT the Same

pink cactus flowers
2020 has been a very good year for cactus.  Here are 4 cacti found in Bandelier that have pink flowers.  They may all bloom pink but they are not all alike.  Do you know what kinds they are?

photos by Sally King

 

Prickly Pear Cactus

 
prickly pear variety
Prickly pear variety

photos by Sally King

Prickly pear are a very diverse species. The most common has yellow flowers but sometimes the flowers are yellow with a red center, sometimes the flowers are tangerine, and sometimes they are bright pink. What they all have in common is flatten pads with spines. Sometimes there are lots of thin spines and sometimes there are fewer thicker spines. Oh, those amazing prickly pears.

 

Cane or Walking Stick Cholla

 
cholla cactus
Cane or Walking Stick Cholla

photos by Sally King

Cholla cactus in different places can also have a variety of colored blooms. Bandelier's type of cholla always has pink flowers. It also has long stick like limbs covered with spines. Cholla are definitely the tallest cactus found in Bandelier.
 

Pincushion Cactus

 
pincushion variety
Pincushion cactus

photos by Sally King

Pincushions always have pink flowers. Their bloom time is very variable from May to August. The cactus is a small rounded ball covered with star like clusters of spines. Sometimes the cactus are found singly and sometimes in clusters.
 

Fendler's Hedgehog

 
fendlers hedgehog cactus
Fendler's Hedgehog cactus

photos by Sally King

Fendler's Hedgehog are less common than the other pink flowering cactus found on this page. Like pincushion, they are small rounded cactus but, unlike pincushion, rarely form clumps. They also have much larger spines than pincushions.
 

Bandelier Cactus That Don't Bloom Pink

 

Claret Cup Hedgehog

 
claret cup hedgehog

Photos by Sally King

Claret-Cup Hedgehogs are pretty common and bloom with brillant red flowers in mid spring. They have fewer and thicker spines than their cousin, Scarlet Hedgehogs.
 

Scarlet Hedgehog

 
scarlet hedgehog

photos by Sally King

Scarlet Hedgehogs are slightly less common than Claret Cup and have finer spines but similar brillantly red flowers. Both flower about the same time in mid spring.
 

Green Flowered Hedgehog

 
green flowered hedgehog

photos by Sally King

Green flowered hedgehogs are also pretty common in Bandelier and are the smallest of the cactus. Even though they are called green flowered the flowers are often shades of yellow. These are the earliest blooming cactus in the park.

Last updated: June 21, 2020

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