H. texensis is, of course, named for the State of
Texas where it is widely distributed
and deserves to be more popular in cultivation. It is a round-shaped barrel with
numerous flat ribs that grows very low to the ground with short but very
thick pink o grey spines that can live for decades.
Description: It is a stout barrel cactus,
which is solitary when young, very rarely slowly clustering in age.
Stem: Pale grey-green (desert populations) to grass green (eastern
populations) with numerous ribs , above-ground portion flat-topped,
hemispheric in old age but usually deep-seated, flush with soil
surface 30 cm in diameter, 20 cm high
Spines: Small but strong pale tan, pink, reddish to grey,
flattened, annulated, not hiding stem surfaces.
Radial spines: (5-)6-7 per
per areole, mostly
Central spine: 1
porrect and straight.
Flowers: 5-6 × 5-6 cm. Flowers range from white thru
rose-pink to pale silvery-pink, with red throats in late spring and
can appear on plants around 10cm in diameter.
or crimson, spheric to ovoid, 15-50 × 15-40 mm, fleshy,
Note: Desert populations of H. texensis, unlike
the eastern plants, have longer central spines that project stiffly
Juvenile specimen (Winter)
Juvenile specimen (Spring)
Scientific name: Echinocactus texensis
Published in: Hopffer, Allg. Gartenzeitung. 10: 297. 1842.
- Homalocephala texensis (Hopffer) Britton & Rose
- Echinocactus lindheimeri
Common Names include:
- Horse Crippler (For the heavily spines that lies low
to the ground, a hazard to horses, hence the name)
- Candy Cactus (For the edible and tasty red fruit.
The plant is used to make a candy)
- Devil’s Pin Cushion
Origin: This species is widespread and common in Texas,
southeastern New Mexico, and Olkahoma (USA). It occurs also in
northeastern Mexico (Coahuila, southern Nuevo León, Durango Tamaulipas)
Habitat and ecology: Chihuahuan Desert, grasslands, openings in
oak woodlands, Tamaulipan thorn scrub, on deep soils, saline flats, low
limestone hills or limy gravel above Permian red dirt. 0-1400 m;
It is a very hardy cactus that grows hidden in the grass. A dense cover
of ephemeral herbs or shallow blanket of snow can hide this species
completely from view.
A juvenile specimen.
Cultivation: H. texesis will do its best
with lots of sun, it becomes stressed with inadequate light which
could result in weak spines, poor health or even death. It does well
with cool winter time temperatures and will tolerate temperatures
down below -18°C or less if the roots are kept dry. This variety
stores water in the parts of the plant which are above the soil
leaving the root system small enough to fit into a proportionally
sized flower pot. Needs well drained soil. It flowers easily, but results will depend on a variety of growing
easy to propagate by seeds.