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Bransford, W.D. and Dolphia
Echinocactus texensis Hopffer
Horse crippler, Devil's head, Chisos Hedgehog
Synonym(s): Homalocephala texensis
USDA Symbol: ecte
USDA Native Status: L48 (N)
The horse crippler cactus is broader than it is long. Normally it is 1–2 inches above the ground and up to 12 inches across. It is difficult to see, and many horses have been crippled from stepping on it. It usually has only 1 stem, occasionally 2 or 3. If injured at the tip, it may produce a cluster of small heads on top of the old one. The surface of the plant is dark green. It has about 14 spines at each areole, with a central spine that is longer and stronger than the others, 2– 3 inches long and straight to slightly-curved downward. The inverted bell-shaped flowers are 1– 2 3/4 inches across and about as tall. The outer petals are salmon-red, the inner ones salmon-pink with streaks of red. The edge of the petals has a feathery appearance. Anthers are pinkish to red, and the pistil is yellow to pink. The flower is somewhat fragrant.
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial Habit: Cactus/Succulent Leaf Retention: Evergreen Size Notes:
4-6 inches. Flower:
Pink or violet, with feathery edges, red centers and yellow stigma. Flowers 2-2 1/2 inches long and across.
Bright red. Size Class:
Bloom InformationBloom Color:
Pink , Violet Bloom Time:
Mar , Apr , May , Jun , Jul , Aug Bloom Notes: Diurnal
, TX Native Distribution:
Southeast New Mexico, west, central and south Texas. Now uncommon from North-central to South and West Texas into Mexico due to eradication by ranchers. Native Habitat:
Desert flats, grassland, scrubland. In
sandy and limestone soils.
Growing ConditionsWater Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Dry
Drought Tolerance: High
Conditions Comments: Very low-growing cactus with stout spines that may injure livestock. Lovely in flower.
BenefitUse Ornamental: Attractive, Blooms ornamental, Desert landscape
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Deer Resistant: High
From the National Suppliers Directory
According to the inventory provided by Associate Suppliers, this plant is available at the following locations:
Far South Wholesale Nursery
- Austin, TX
Wildflower Center Seed BankLBJWC-1023
Collected 2007-05-23 in Cameron County by Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
Record Last Modified: 2013-07-13
Research By: TWC Staff