Family: Cactaceae

The bright, glossy green cactuses from 50 to over 100 species making up this genus are all similar and native to South America. However, many hybrids have been developed from cross­ing Echinopsis and Lobivia and Echinopsis and Charnaecereus. These are available in many colours. These hybrids produce freely only from offsets. The bodies are mostly globe-shaped, at times cylindrical, and sharply ribbed, with ferocious spines. The large, mostly white, diurnal flowers are short-lived. Sometimes fragrant, they bloom in spring through to summer. All are self-sterile.


E. backebergii is a clump-forming, spperical, dark green cactus with notched ribs. The woolly areoles bear reddish spines which chpnge to gray as they age. The spines may be curved or hooked. Summer flowers are diurnal anti may be scarlet or violet.

E. chamaecereus, a clumping or mat-forming cactus, has cylin­drical stems and white or brownish spines. The bright orange to scarlet summer flowers are diurnal.

E. cinnabarina, a clustering type, has a sduat, rounded shape and bright scarlet flow­ers.

E. huascha develops cylindrical stems and bars yellow or red flowers.

E. lageniformis is treelike, to about 2 m (6 ft) high, with colum­nar stems. The spines are rather fine and yel­lowish and the white flowers are nocturnal.

E. spachiana is a more shrub-like cactus, with ribped deep green stems branching from the base. It may grow 1-2 m (3-6 ft) high and spread 75 cm (30 in). The nocturnal, summer flowers are white with green outer petals.


In frost-prone climates, grow in an airy, intermediate greenhouse or conservatory, in cactus compost. Provide maximum light and do not water plants in winter. Outdoors, grow in a sunny spot with well-drained soil. Propagate from seed in spring, in a warm prop­agating case, or from offsets in spring.


Will grow in relatively frost-free areas. At least zone 9.

Echinops      Echium