Arizona Naturalists >>> Ponderosa Woodland Flora >>> Cactaceae >>> Echinocereus triglochidiatus

Claret Cup
King Cup Cactus

Echinocereus triglochidiatus

Claret Cup Cactus, Echinocereus triglochidiatus, photo © by Mike Plagens

Observed on a sandstone outcrop in Reynold's Canyon, Gila Co., Arizona, USA. June 2011.

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FLOWERS: The many red petals (tepals) are oriented almost vertical when the flower opens forming a cup that yields nectar for especially hummingbirds. Blooms June and July depending on elevation.

LEAVES: No leaves. Succulent stems are pleated vertically and carry out photosynthesis in the surface cortex.

SUCCULENT: Several to many stems form clumps rarely approaching 15 cm tall.

RANGE: Found on drier, open sites in ponderosa woodlands and also in piñon-juniper and oak woodlands. Surprisingly tolerant of sub-freezing temperatures that are common at 1800 m elevation. Several similar species and varieties are distinguished by virtue of double or quadruple chromosomes and characteristics of the spines, hairs and stem shapes. Ranges north into Colorado and east to Texas.

FRUIT: The fleshy green to yellow fruits become dry at maturity and are set with sharp spines.

ARMED. The stout spines may be shorter, longer or more numerous between populations and similar species.

Cactaceae -- Cactus Family

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Arizona Naturalist
Arizona's Ponderosa Woodlands
The Flora of Arizona's Ponderosa Woodlands


Copyright Michael J. Plagens, page created 17 July 2012