Echinocactus texensis f. mostruosa


Echinocactus lindheimeri
Echinocactus platycephalus
Homalocephala texensis


E. texensis is native to Mexico Northeast, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas. The cactus grows both in the plains and in the hills, in sandy or in loamy soils, in grassland or in woodlands and can spread up to 1400 m of altitude.


E. texensis is a rare cactus belonging to the Cactaceae botanical family. The plant is globular and tends to be solitary in young and in cluster in age and can reach up to 30 cm in diameter and 20 cm in height. The stem is spherical, barrel-shaped, bluish-green to pale green in color. The stem is arranged in many ribs made of tubercles. Each tubercle bears many areoles on which are inserted the spines. The spines are small, strong pointed and reddish, there are 6-7 radial curved spines and 1 straight central spine. In the mostruosa form the areoles are long and woolly and cover the edge of the ribs and the stem grows in an irregular shape making the plant unique and so very sought after. Blooming occurs from early spring to the late summer and blossom are borne only by mature individuals at the apex of the plant. The flowers are diurnal, funnel-shaped, rose-pink in color with red-purple stripes in the center and with yellow stamens. The edible fruits are fleshy, red scarlet and containing small black oblong seeds. The cactus is also called “Horse Crippler” because for its small size it can hide in the grass and can be dangerous for horses.


This is a slow growing plant, easy to cultivate. The best sun-exposure is in bright place but is recommended to avoid direct sun-light in the hottest periods. The plant does not like temperatures below 8°C so it needs to be placed indoors in the coldest periods. The perfect soil is a well-drained soil that let the water to drain away and avoid root rot. To achieve this feature, you can mix the pumice soil, clay and soil. Remember to use a perforating pot to drain excess water. Watering is very important for this species and should be done well: during the vegetative period you can water the plant (every 7 days), checking that the soil is completely dry before watering again; in winter you should stop the watering to allow the plant to enter dormancy. If you want a faster and lush growth you can fertilize the plant once a month during the growing season with the specific fertilizers for succulents; stop fertilizing throughout the winter. You should repot the plant every 2 years in a pot 2 cm wider. Repotting should be done early in the growing season with fresh new potting soil. Be careful to red spiders and mealy bugs.


Propagation can be done by cutting, by seed or by grafting. By cutting you can make the cut during the spring and then let the cutting dry; after a few days the cut surface will dry and a callus will form, then place the cutting in a mixture of sand, soil and pumice. To increase the success of propagation you can make two or more cuttings at the same time. For cuttings it is recommended temperatures around 20 °C. By seed it is very simple to propagate the plant, it is enough to sow the seed in a sandy loam soil and keep it with a high level of humidity and at temperature of 14 C°. By grafting you can make the cut as close to the growing tip as possible, then chose a stock with a diameter similar to that of the scion. After the cut, wash away the latex until it no longer remains. Bring the scion closer to the stock and held together with elastic bands. The plants should be left in an airy and shady place for 7-10 days before the bands are removed.


The name Echinocactus comes from the Latin Echinos, that means porcupine: it is a cactus full of long, evident thorns, light yellow just like some of the porcupine spines. The plant is also commonly called Candy Cactus for the edible fruit from which candies are made. The forma mostruosa is a natural mutation that occurred in the E. texensis population and that was selected and propagated vegetatively.

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