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Rainbow Cactus Echinocereus pectinatus


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Rainbow Cactus
credit: Amante Darmanin/CCSA

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Alternate name: Comb Hedgehog

Family: Cactaceae, Cactus view all from this family

Description A low, cylindrical cactus girdled from top to bottom by bands of colorful spines, pink, gray, pale yellow, brown, or white; flowers pink, rose, lavender, or yellow.
Habit: native perennial shrub.
Height: 4-12 in (100-300 mm)
Stem: cylindrical, 1-4 in (2.5-10 cm) diameter, with 12-23 ribs.
Leaf: spine, white to pink; radial spines, 16-30 per areole, to 0.5 in (12 mm) long; central spines may be absent.
Flower: pink or purple (rarely yellow), 2.5-5.5 in (63-140 mm) wide.
Fruit: oval berry, green becoming purple; with deciduous spines.

Flower June to August.

Habitat Rocky slopes and flats, commonly on limestone; also cultivated ornamentally.

Range Central and southern Arizona east to western Texas and south to northern Mexico.

Discussion Also known as comb hedgehog cactus, Arizona rainbow. Several varieties have been proposed. The banded colors of spines explain the name Rainbow Cactus. The strikingly beautiful flowers seem far too large for the plant. This cactus flowers on old growth; a fuzzy dot on the side of a stem indicates an old bloom site.