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Sunday, June 19, 2011

Echinocereus schmollii

Echinocereus schmollii used to be considered difficult and somewhat rare in cultivation. Plants have thin stems, bulb for root and nice flowers. This plant grows in the wild with the support of the host bush branches. Pencil thin stem tend to snake around when plant is cultivated, if not supported with sticks.
Showy pink flowers are easily produced, usually several waves of blooms over the summer.
Generic name Echinocereus tokened by George Engelmann, american cactus student of 1800-s. His "Cactaceae of the border" is a remarkable work, full of impressive artworks of the plants featured.
The name Echinocereus comes from Greek word echinos for hedgehog and Latin Cereus for wax or candle. Genus Cereus at the time had all tall candle or pillar-like plants. With the hedgehog part in the name Engelmann was referring to spiny flower bud (and fruit) clearly seen at the picture, to segregate plants in the genus from those with naked or spineless flower, like in modern genus Cereus proper.
Echinocereus schmollii was originality  named and for the long time called Wilcoxia schmollii. The genus Wilcoxia was created for several similar-looking plants, all with thin stems. Now those plants are merged to the Echinocereus genus, based on obvious similarities in reproductive organs.

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