Echinocactusplatyacanthus Link Otto 1827

biznaga de dulce, biznaga gigante, giant barrel cactus, giant viznaga, large barrel cactus Echinocactus karwinskii Zuccarini 1837 Echinocactus ingensZuccarini ex Pfeiffer 1837 Echinocactus helophorus Lemaire 1839 Echinocactus visnaga W. J. Hooker 1851 Echinocactus grandis Rose 1906 Echinocactus palmeri Rose 1909

Plants subglobose, globose, broadly columnar, to barrel shaped, green to yellowish green, sometimes glaucous, often very massive, 0.5-2.5 m (20-98 in) high, 40-80 cm (16-31 in) in diameter. Ribs extremely variable in number, 5 to more than 60, vertically oriented. Spination variable with age, large, stiff, somewhat flattened, with transverse striations, yellowish to reddish, becoming blackish with age. Central spines 4, often forming a cross, lower one often larger than the others, somewhat curved, 5-10 cm (2-3.9 in) long. Radial spines 8-10, often in an upper and lower series, 3-4 cm (1.2-1.6 in) long. Flowers numerous, emerging from the yellow wool at the stem tips, opening fairly wide, yellow, 5-7 cm (2-2.8 in) in diameter. Fruits dry at maturity, oblong, yellowish, 5-7 cm (2-2.8 in) long, with numerous thin, dry, membranous

Echinocactus platyacanthus, also illustrated on page 21

Echinocactus platyacanthus, also illustrated on page 21

scales, wool, and hairs; perianth parts persistent. Distribution: northern and central Mexico, southern Coahuila into Puebla. Echinocactus platyacanthus is easily recognized because of its massive size, by far the largest of all barrel cacti. Its woolly hairs have been used as fiber for filling and weaving (Chapter 2, under Other Uses of Cacti).

Echinocactus polycephalus Engelmann & Bigelow 1856 biznaga de chilitos, cotton top cactus, harem cactus, many-headed barrel cactus, woolly-headed barrel cactus Echinocactus polycephalus [var.] xeranthemoides i. M. Coulter 1896, E. xeranthemoides (J. M. Coulter) Rydberg 1917, Emorycactusxeran-themoides (J. M. Coulter) Doweld 1996, Echinocactus polycephalus subsp. xeranthemoides (J. M. Coulter) N. P. Taylor 1998 Emorycactus polycephalus (Engelmann & Bigelow) Doweld 1996

Plants almost always many-stemmed, often forming clumps of as many as 30 stems. Stems globose to cylindrical, 30-60 cm (12-24 in) high, 10-20 cm (3.9-7.9 in) in diameter. Ribs 13-21. Spines dense, obscuring the stems, sometimes covered with fine hairs. Central spines 4, spreading irregularly, reddish to purplish, becoming gray with age, lowest one curving slightly downward, others more or less straight, flattened, strongly cross-striated, 6-7.5 cm (2.4-3 in) long. Radial spines 6-8, spreading irregularly, similar to centrals, 3-4.5 cm (1.2-1.8 in) long. Flowers yellow with pink midribs, to 5 cm (2 in) long and in diameter. Fruits dry at maturity, 12-20 mm (0.5-0.8 in) long, heavily covered with white hairs. Distribution: California, Nevada, Utah, and Arizona, and northwestern Sonora, Mexico.

Spines of Echinocactus polycephalus have been used as fishhooks and as awls in basketmaking (Chapter 2, under Other Uses of Cacti). Two subspecies of E. polycephalus are recognized. Subspecies polycephalus is the most widespread and has spines covered with fine hairs, and usually occurs in clumps of 20-30. It grows at lower elevations in the Mojave and Sonoran Deserts, 30-750 m (100-2500 ft). Subspecies xeranthemoideshas spines that usually lack the fine hairs, and usually grows in clumps rarely exceeding 12 stems and is sometimes solitary. It grows at higher elevations in the Nava-joan Desert and pinyon-juniper woodland, 1000-1500 m (3300-4900 ft).

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