Echinocactus texensis Hopffer
Horse Crippler, Horse Crippler Cactus, Devil's Head, Chisos Hedgehog Cactus, Chisos Hedgehog
Cactaceae (Cactus Family)
Synonym(s): Homalocephala texensis
USDA Symbol: ecte
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.
From the Image Gallery
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial
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.
Fruit: Bright red.
Size Class: 0-1 ft.
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Pink , Violet
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May , Jun , Jul , Aug
Bloom Notes: Diurnal blooms.
DistributionUSA: NM , OK , 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 Organizations DirectoryAccording to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:
Fredericksburg Nature Center - Fredericksburg, TX
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - Austin, TX
Texas Discovery Gardens - Dallas, TX
Sibley Nature Center - Midland, TX
NPSOT - Fredericksburg Chapter - Fredericksburg, TX
Wildflower Center Seed BankLBJWC-1023 Collected 2007-05-23 in Cameron County by Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
BibliographyBibref 1140 - Cacti (1991) Clive Innes and Charles Glass
Bibref 1141 - Cactuses of Big Bend National Park (1998) Evans, Douglas B.
Bibref 248 - Texas Wildflowers: A Field Guide (1984) Loughmiller, C. & L. Loughmiller
Search More Titles in Bibliography
Web ReferenceWebref 15 - The American Southwest (1994) John Crossley
Additional resourcesUSDA: Find Echinocactus texensis in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Echinocactus texensis in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Echinocactus texensis
MetadataRecord Modified: 2021-01-26
Research By: TWC Staff