Echinocereus reichenbachii f. albispinus f. variegated


No synonyms are recorded for this species name.


Echinocereus reichenbachii f. albispinus f. variegated is a nursery cultivar and, thus, doesn’t exist in nature. Echinocereus reichenbachii, instead, is native to Mexico and United States, where it is common and abundant, as it can be found in a wide altitude range: from sea level to 1,500 metres above sea level. It grows in grasslands, spiny shrublands and woodlands.


Echinocereus reichenbachii f. albispinus f. variegated is the variegated form of Echinocereus reichenbachii f. albispinus, an unofficial designation found in certain catalogs, showcases a distinct variation of Echinocereus reichenbachii. This remarkable specimen can be readily distinguished from the typical Echinocereus reichenbachii due to its striking pure white spines. Notably, it occupies an intermediary position between Echinocereus baileyi and Echinocereus reichenbachii subsp. caespitosus. It is crucial to avoid confusion with Echinocereus reichenbachii var. albispinus (Lahman) L.D.Benson, which denotes a white form of Echinocereus baileyi. These are two separate entities with distinctive characteristics. In terms of its growth habit, Echinocereus reichenbachii f. albispinus manifests as a solitary or slow-branching cylindrical cactus, typically bearing up to 12 branches. Among the Echinocereus species, it is relatively smaller in size. The stem of this intriguing plant stands upright, showcasing a cylindrical or slightly short cylindrical shape, reaching heights of 7 to 10 cm and attaining a diameter of 2.5 to 8 cm. Its surface is adorned with 10 to 19 straight or mildly undulating ribs.
Adorning the stems are areoles, spaced approximately 1 to 6 (or up to 10) mm apart. The most captivating feature lies in the radiant spines, numbering between 20 to 36. These spines are straight to slightly curved, snugly positioned against the ribs, and arranged in two series. Pectinately or nearly so, they span a length of 5 to 8 mm, exuding a pristine white hue that may exhibit a darker tip as they mature. Unlike some other cacti, Echinocereus reichenbachii f. albispinus lacks central spines, adding to its unique appeal. However, it compensates with a captivating display of blossoms. The flowers are abundant, fragrant, and boast an intense pink coloration. With a size ranging from 5 to 7 cm, they feature a flower tube measuring 22 to 40 mm in length and 10 to 30 mm in width. Delicate hairs grace the surface of the flower tube, measuring 5 to 15 mm in length. The inner tepals shimmer in silvery pink to magenta tones, often exhibiting white, crimson, green, or multicolored shades proximally. Ranging from 23 to 40 mm in length and 5 to 15 mm in width, their slender tips exude a delicate charm. Yellow anthers and a nectar chamber measuring 2 to 5 mm complete the intricate floral structure. The blooming season of Echinocereus reichenbachii f. albispinus occurs from early May to late June, enriching the landscape with its resplendent presence. Following the enchanting display of flowers, the plant forms ovoid fruits in shades of green, olive green, or dark green. These fruits, reaching a length of up to 28 mm, appear approximately 1.5 to 2.5 months after the flowering period. When mature, the seeds within the fruits exhibit a distinctive black coloration. The variegated form has the same characteristics of the regular Echinocereus reichenbachii f. albispinus, with the charming addition of the colour variegations. The phenomenon of variegation is due to a lack of chlorophyll in the plant stems, which is related to some genetic mutations in the stem cells. This mutation can affect different parts of the plant according to the specimens: this makes every individual unique, because the variegations can be displayed in different intensities, hues, and parts of the plant. The colour of the variegations is usually yellowish.


Echinocereus reichenbachii f. albispinus stands as a captivating specimen, showcasing its unique attributes throughout its growth cycle. Its remarkable features and enchanting blooms make it a cherished addition to any succulent collection or botanical landscape.

Echinocereus reichenbachii f. albispinus f. variegated stands as a captivating specimen, showcasing its unique attributes throughout its growth cycle. Its remarkable features and enchanting blooms make it a cherished addition to any succulent collection or botanical landscape. This remarkable cactus is not only a visual delight but also possesses specific care requirements to ensure its optimal growth and vibrancy. To maintain the health of Echinocereus reichenbachii f. albispinus f. variegated, it is crucial to exercise caution regarding watering. The plant is sensitive to overwatering, making it prone to rot if the soil remains excessively moist. Therefore, providing a well-draining medium becomes paramount, allowing excess water to escape and preventing waterlogged conditions. While this cactus hails from desert regions, it requires slightly more moisture than typical desert cacti to thrive and produce its exquisite flowers. Striking a delicate balance is key. During the winter months, it is advisable to adopt a drier and cooler approach, reducing watering frequencies to ensure the plant’s dormancy period is respected. This restful phase aids in the overall well-being and longevity of Echinocereus reichenbachii f. albispinus f. variegated. Another essential aspect of its care is providing abundant sunlight. This cactus thrives when exposed to full sun, enabling it to fulfill its photosynthetic needs and maintain its distinct variegation. Placing it in a location where it receives ample sunlight ensures the plant’s vitality and contributes to its remarkable appearance. Echinocereus reichenbachii f. albispinus f. variegated exhibits exceptional cold resistance, capable of enduring temperatures ranging from -10°C to -25°C (depending on clones) or even lower for short periods of time. This resilience allows the plant to thrive in regions with harsh winter climates, showcasing its endurance and adaptability. With its striking variegated form, Echinocereus reichenbachii f. albispinus f. variegated serves as an exquisite addition to rock gardens or containers. It complements neighboring agaves, yuccas, and low-growing flowering plants, creating a harmonious display of contrasting textures, shapes, and colors. This cactus’s presence adds depth and visual interest to any botanical arrangement or landscape, captivating the beholder with its unique attributes. 


Echinocereus reichenbachii f. albispinus f. variegated offers multiple methods of propagation, allowing enthusiasts to cultivate this unique cactus in their own collections. Apart from growing from seeds, this captivating plant can also be propagated through cuttings. As it slowly branches from the base, new growth emerges, providing an opportunity to create additional plants and expand the variegated wonder. This branching habit adds a dynamic aspect to the cactus’s growth, resulting in an increasingly impressive display of its variegated patterns. Whether you choose to start from seeds or take cuttings, both methods offer rewarding experiences for those who wish to enjoy the beauty of Echinocereus reichenbachii f. albispinus f. variegated.


The name Echinocereus derives from the Greek words “echinos,” meaning “hedgehog” or “sea urchin,” and “cereus,” referring to a candle or torch. This name perfectly describes the cactus’s cylindrical shape covered in spines, reminiscent of a spiky torch or hedgehog. The species name “reichenbachii” is a tribute to the German botanist Heinrich Gustav Reichenbach. Reichenbach made significant contributions to the field of botany and was known for his expertise in orchids. His name is immortalized in the botanical nomenclature through various plant species, including this remarkable cactus. The cultivar name, “albispinus” refers to the white colour of the spines, coming from the latin word for “white”, “albus”.

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