Echinocereus reichenbachii

Source: Joe Bowman

Echinocereus reichenbachii

Echinocereus reichenbachii or lace cactus is a cactus that is hardy to -31 °C.

It grows not higher than 40 cm and above all requires a very draining soil.


It is a spherical and later cylindrical cactus with a height of 7-40 cm and a diameter of 2.5-10 cm.

It grows as a solitary when young and later forms branches at the base so that it seems to grow in clusters. It is one of the smallest Echinocereus cacti.

It has 10-19 straight or slightly wavy ribs with areoles at 1-10 mm distance.

The spines are densely packed and form a pattern that resembles lace, hence the English name ‘Lace Cactus’. There are 20-36 radial spines, straight or slightly curved, very close to the ribs and put in two sets, 5-8 mm long. The color varies from white to brown, pale pink, dark brown or purple-black. There are 0-7 central spines (but usually they are absent) which are small, conical, 1-15 mm long, often first dark yellow with a brown top, then white in older areoles.

Beautiful, abundant, fragrant, deep pink flowers, 5-7 cm long. The tube is 22-40 mm long and 10-30 mm wide, with hairs from 5-15 mm. The inner petals are bright pink to silvery, usually white, red, green or multicolored.

The fruit is oval, green, olive-green or dark green, to 28 mm long. She has come from 1.5 to 2.5 months after flowering. The seeds are black.


Common names:

Black lace cactus, Classen´s cactus, hedgehog cactus, lace cactus, lace hedgehog cactus, merry-widow cactus, purple-candle cactus, Reichenbach hedgehog-cactus


Echinocereus reichenbachii baileyi, Echinocereus reichenbachii caespitosus, Echinocereus reichenbachii fitchii, Echinocereus reichenbachii var. albispinus, Echinocactus reichenbachii


Echinocereus: from the Greek echinos (hedgehog) and Latin cereus (wax, candle).
Reichenbachii: in honor of Mrs. Reichenbach, the wife of Heinrich Gustav Reichenbach, a German botanist and ornithologist


Southwestern United States and northeastern Mexico, in the Chihuahuan Desert


Desert, grassland, Juniper oak woodland at an altitude of 0-1,500 m. It thrives in a variety of sites and soils and is often found in cracks in the rock.


USDA zone 5-11, -31 °C



Above all, well drained.


Full sun


Is very susceptible to rot if too moist, a very good drainage is essential. But to thrive and prosper it must be watered regularly. In the winter it has to be very dry.


Fertilize in spring when growth resumes and at the end of the summer with slow releasing solid fertilizer.


When the pot is too small.


Seed and cuttings.

Sowing instructions:

  • sow in a sandy, airy and moist mix
  • don’t cover the seeds: they need light to germinate
  • cover the pot to reatin moisture
  • 25 °C
  • transplant: lift the seedlings very gently with tweezers from the substrate
  • germination: 5-180 days


  • cut a branch from the mother plant at the joint with the mother plant
  • let the cuttings dry a few days to several weeks in a dry, sunny or light spot
  • plant the cuttings in dry substrate and water when roots appear