Echinocereus coccineus - 2

Echinocereus coccineus, Scarlet Beehive Cactus
East of Hillsboro, New Mexico 

On a walk in Ready Pay Gulch, east of Hillsboro (on March 7, 2015) we found several other species of cactus, including a nice clump of Scarlet Beehive Cactus, Echinocereus coccineus (see two photos below).  Like many cactus, this species has a plethora of common names.  It is the common mounding cactus in our area and in a few weeks we will be treated to mounds of bright red or orange flowers.

The images on this page were originally misidentified as Echinocereus triglochidiatus.  In correspondence of September 27, 2022, David Ferguson noted "very few people still follow the brief lumping of the two that was prevalent following Benson's publications.  As far as I am aware, there are no populations of E. trichlochidiatus west of the Rio Grande this far south, though they reach south into the Sacramento Mountains (fairly high up) and into the Tularosa Basin (on gypsum).  Some of the plants on the east slope of the Black Range resemble true E. trichochidiatus, but they represent the same few-ribbed variant of E. coccineus that occurs in the Trans-Pecos and in the Guadalupe and on the east side of the Sacramento Mountains (the name is debated - var. gurneyi is the oldest varietal name for these, but some say that is a hybrid and now there is a newer name - ssp. transpecosensis).  In most of the rest of the Black Range the plants fit the rather weekly discriminated var. roseus or var. coccineus best.  E. coccineus is tetraploid and mostly dioecious, while E. trichochidiatus is diploid and monoiecious.  E. trichodiatus has generally sharper ribs, usually not over 7 in number, and stout spines that are usually angular in cross-section.  E. coccineus usually has 7 or more (in most varieties 9 or more) ribs that tend to be more rounded, and spines are usually round in cross-section (they may be rather flattened though)."

Ready Pay Gulch East of Hillsboro
Immediately above and below on March 7, 2015.

Ready Pay Gulch, East of Hillsboro, NM
Immediately above and below - March 30, 2017.

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