Monday, July 26, 2010

Mojave Kingcup Cactus

The Mojave kingcup cactus, also known as the Mojave mound cactus, kingcup cactus and three spine hedgehog cactus (Echinocereus mojavensis) is mound-shaped
and formed of many densely packed stems, covered with spines that are gray, flat, curved (almost wavy), twisting and often interlocking with those of neighboring stems
to form a dense web of spines covering the mound.
There can be mounds composed of as many as 100 individual stems
(as many as 500 stems have been reported). Each stem is usually less than two inches in diameter and is bluish green. Each stem has about ten ribs.
It can get up to about 16 inches tall and has a beautiful funnel-shaped flower
that is orange to red and it blooms in the spring.
The fruit is cylindrical, about one inch long and 1/2 inch in diameter. It is reddish when ripe.
It is found in dry, well-drained gravelly and rocky soils on upper bajadas into the mountains, above 5,000 feet. It is found in southeastern California, southeastern Nevada,  portions of southeastern and southwestern Utah, and northeastern Arizona. I saw a number of them on May 22, 2010 in the Mojave National Preserve on the upper portions of Cima Road.

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