rainbow hedgehog cactus, more...
[Cereus pectinatus var. rigidissimus Engelm., more]
Benson 1982, FNA 2003
Common Name: rainbow hedgehog cactus Duration: Perennial Protected Status: Salvage restriced status in Arizona. General: Unbranched stems that are generally solitary and red and white banded, often short cylindric they are 6-18 cm tall and 9-11 cm in diameter with 18-23 ribs with slightly undulate crests that have areoles 3-5 mm apart. Spines: The central spines are always absent as the spines are all radial and more or less obscuring the stem with usually 15-23 per areole, these are straight or slightly curved toward stem to tightly appressed and arranged like a comb, bright pink to pink and white in alternating bands of color around stem with each one 6-10 mm long. Flowers: Overall 6- 9 cm diameter and long, the flower tube can reach 30 mm long by 15- 45 mm wide with the flower tube hairs to 2 mm, the inner tepals are bright rose pink or magenta and conspicuously white banded below, the tepals 40-50 mm long and 10-15 mm wide the tips relatively thin and delicate, with yellow anthers. Fruits: Greenish or dark purplish brown from 2.5-5 cm. Ecology: Found on limestone outcrops, gravelly hills, steep canyon sides, and in grasslands, often in igneous substrates from 4,000-5,500 ft (1219-1676 m), flowers May-July. Distribution: s AZ, sw NM; south to c MEX. Notes: A distinct species due to the red, green, white and yellow banding due to coloration of the spines; the lack of central spines and the ovals of 15-23 spreading spines. Flowers indistinguishable from E. pectinatus. Ours are all of var. rigidissimus according to FNA. Most Arizona species of E. rigidissimus were previously referred to as E. pectinatus, but recent literature segregates these along the Continental Divide. Those west of the Divide are E. rigidissimus. There is one other species to pay attention to, E. pseudopectinatus, which is a Chihuahuan species that might verge into Arizona near Fort Bowie but has not really been collected because of the confusion surrounding these species. Ethnobotany: The raw fruit was used for food. Etymology: Echinocereus is from the Greek echinos, hedgehog or spine and cereus, waxy, while rigidissimus refers to the stiff spines. Synonyms: Cereus pectinatus var. rigidissimus, Echinocereus pectinatus var. rigidissimus Editor: SBuckley 2010, FSCoburn 2015