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Echinocereus triglochidiatus

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Kingcup cactus. Photo ©Al Schneider,




SPECIES: Echinocereus triglochidiatus
AUTHORSHIP AND CITATION : Matthews, Robin F. 1994. Echinocereus triglochidiatus. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: Available: []. Revisions: On 22 March 2018, the common name of this species was changed in FEIS from: kingcup hedgehog cactus to: kingcup cactus. Images were also added.
ABBREVIATION : ECHTRI SYNONYMS : E. t. var. gonacanthus (Engelm.) Boissevain = typical variety [23] NRCS PLANT CODE : ECTR COMMON NAMES : kingcup cactus claretcup cactus kingcup hedgehog cactus red-flowered hedgehog cactus strawberry cactus TAXONOMY : The cscientific name of kingcup cactus is Echinocereus triglochidiatus Engelmann (Cactaceae) [3,10,11,14,20]. The species is composed of a complex group of local populations, and the appearance of extreme types differs substantially [3]. Hickman [10] stated that varietal designations are not acceptable. However, the following varieties are recognized by some authorities: E. triglochidiatus var. triglochidiatus [3,23,26] E. t. var. arizonicus (Rose) L. Benson [3,26], Arizona kingcup cactus E. t. var. gurneyi L. Benson [3,26] E. t. var. inermis Rowley [3], spineless kingcup cactus E. t. var. melanacanthus (Engelm.) L. Benson [3,9,11,14,20,26] E. t. var. mojavensis (Engelm. & Bigel.) L. Benson [3,9,11,14,20,23,26] E. t. var. neomexicanthus (Standl.) Standl. ex W. T. Marshall [3,9,26] E. t. var. paucispinus (Engelm.) Engelm. ex W. T. Marshall [3,9,26] The variety E. t. variety toroweapensis Fischer has been proposed [24]. A spineless form of E. t. variety mojavensis occurs in the mountains and mesas of western Colorado and eastern Utah [23]. Echinocereus coccineus was formerly considered a synomyn, but is now considered a distinct species [23,25]. LIFE FORM : Cactus FEDERAL LEGAL STATUS : Arizona kingcup cactus is Endangered [28]. OTHER STATUS : Arizona kingcup cactus is protected from international trade by CITES (Convention on International Trade on Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) and is also protected by the Arizona Native Plant Law [2].


SPECIES: Echinocereus triglochidiatus
GENERAL DISTRIBUTION : Kingcup cactus is distributed from Nevada, Utah, and Colorado south to southern California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Mexico [29].
Map from Flora of North America: Map courtesy of the Flora of North America Association. [29][2018, March 22].

   FRES21  Ponderosa pine
   FRES29  Sagebrush
   FRES30  Desert shrub
   FRES32  Texas savanna
   FRES33  Southwestern shrubsteppe
   FRES34  Chaparral - mountain shrub
   FRES35  Pinyon - juniper
   FRES38  Plains grasslands
   FRES40  Desert grasslands


    6  Upper Basin and Range
    7  Lower Basin and Range
   11  Southern Rocky Mountains
   12  Colorado Plateau
   13  Rocky Mountain Piedmont
   14  Great Plains

   K018  Pine - Douglas-fir forest
   K019  Arizona pine forest 
   K023  Juniper - pinyon woodland
   K027  Mesquite bosque
   K031  Oak - juniper woodlands
   K032  Transition between K031 and K037
   K037  Mountain-mahogany - oak scrub
   K038  Great Basin sagebrush
   K039  Blackbrush
   K040  Saltbush - greasewood
   K041  Creosotebush
   K042  Creosotebush - bursage
   K043  Paloverde - cactus shrub
   K044  Creosotebush - tarbush
   K046  Desert: vegetation largely lacking
   K053  Grama - galleta steppe
   K054  Grama - tobosa prairie
   K057  Galleta - three-awn shrubsteppe
   K058  Grama - tobosa shrubsteppe
   K059  Trans-Pecos shrub savanna
   K060  Mesquite savanna
   K061  Mesquite - acacia savanna
   K062  Mesquite - live oak savanna
   K065  Grama - buffalograss
   K086  Juniper - oak savanna
   K087  Mesquite - oak savanna

    66  Ashe juniper - redberry (Pinchot) juniper
    68  Mesquite
   220  Rocky Mountain juniper
   237  Interior ponderosa pine
   239  Pinyon - juniper
   241  Western live oak
   242  Mesquite


Hedgehog cactus is not listed as a dominant or codominant species in
available publications.  Habitats in which the varieties of kingcup cactus are typically found follow [3,5,13,17,26]:

Rocky Mountain montane forest--E. t. var. melanacanthus, E. t. var.
  mojavensis (lower elevations)
Southwestern oak woodland--E. t. var. melanacanthus, E. t. var.
  neomexicanus, E. t. var. arizonicus
Great Basin Desert--E. t. var. melanacanthus
Desert grassland--E. t. var. melanacanthus, E. t. var. neomexicanthus,
  E. t. var. gurneyi
Great Plains grassland--E. t. var. melanacanthus
Northern pinyon-juniper woodland--E. t. var. mojavensis
Southern pinyon-juniper woodland--E. t. var. neomexicanthus, 
  E. t. var. triglochidiatus, E. t. var. melanacanthus 
California chaparral--E. t. var. mojavensis (desert edge) 
Southwestern chaparral--E. t. var. melanacanthus, E. t. var. arizonicus 
Mojave Desert--E. t. var. mojavensis 
Chihuahuan Desert--E. t. var. gurneyi, E. t. var. paucispinus


SPECIES: Echinocereus triglochidiatus
IMPORTANCE TO LIVESTOCK AND WILDLIFE : NO-ENTRY PALATABILITY : NO-ENTRY NUTRITIONAL VALUE : NO-ENTRY COVER VALUE : NO-ENTRY VALUE FOR REHABILITATION OF DISTURBED SITES : NO-ENTRY OTHER USES AND VALUES : The fruit of kingcup cactus is edible at maturity [3]. OTHER MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS : Arizona kingcup cactus is threatened by disturbances such as mining, off-road vehicle use, illegal collecting, and road and utility line construction [2]. Kingcup cactus was not present in Grand Canyon National Park in 1984 or 1989 on desert campsites that received high use by backpackers. However, its frequency was 2 percent and 3 percent in those years, respectively, on nearby control sites [6].


SPECIES: Echinocereus triglochidiatus
GENERAL BOTANICAL CHARACTERISTICS : Kingcup cactus is a native stem succulent with stems occurring singly or in dense clusters or mounds with up to 500 stems. Mounds may reach 12 inches (30 cm) in height and 12 to 48 inches (30-120 cm) in diameter. Individual cylindrical stems have one joint, are 2 to 12 inches (5-30 cm) tall and 1 to 6 inches (2.5-15 cm) in diameter. Kingcup cactus has eight to twelve spines per areole, with central spines being difficult to distinguish from radial spines. Plants may vary from densely spiny to no spines at all. Spines less than 1 year old are generally puberulent. The scarlet flowers are diurnal, remaining open for 2 or 3 days. The fruit is red and juicy at maturity and has deciduous spines [3,10,11,14,20]. Yeaton [21] stated that kingcup cactus has permanent apical pubescence that may act to insulate the plant against cold temperatures that may occur in the juniper-pinyon (Juniperus-Pinus) zone. In addition, the closed canopy of dense mounds of kingcup cactus maintains surface and internal stem temperatures within the mound below ambient temperatures during daylight hours. Temperatures within the mound then increase gradually for several hours after the sun sets, allowing kingcup cactus to survive low night temperatures. RAUNKIAER LIFE FORM : Stem succulent REGENERATION PROCESSES : Kingcup cactus is pollinated by hummingbirds [23]. No other regeneration information was found in the literature. SITE CHARACTERISTICS : Kingcup cactus is found on a variety of sites and within a wide elevational range. In juniper-pinyon woodlands of the Mojave Desert, Kingcup cactus is found on north- and south-facing rocky slopes and in washes [21]. General site characteristics for different varieties follow [3,26]: E. t. var. arizonicus--often growing among granitic boulders in mountainous woodlands and chaparral. Elevation ranges from about 3,500 to 4,700 feet (1,050-1,410 m). E. t. var. gurneyi-- on rocky hillsides in granitic or limestone soils in deserts. Elevation ranges from 4,000 to 5,000 feet (1,200-1,500 m). E. t. var. melanacanthus--on rocky or grassy hillsides, ledges, and canyons; mostly on igneous rock. Elevation ranges from 3,500 to 9,000 feet (1,050-2,900 m). E. t. var. mojavensis-- on rocky hillsides and canyons in deserts and in woodlands above. Elevation ranges from 3,500 to 10,000 feet (1,050-3,000 m). E. t. var. neomexicanus--on soils of igneous origin in woodlands and grasslands. Elevation ranges from 4,500 to 7,000 feet (1,350-2100 m). E. t. var. paucispinus--on rocky igneous or limestone soils in deserts or grasslands. Elevation ranges from 500 to 1,000 feet (150-300 m). E. t. var. triglochidiatus--on rocky or gravelly soils on ridges, hills, and canyons in woodlands. Elevation ranges 4,350 to 6,900 feet (1,300-2,070 m). SUCCESSIONAL STATUS : Kingcup cactus grows in shade [21,22] and open sites. SEASONAL DEVELOPMENT : Flowering time differs between varieties of kingcup cactus and is also dependent on latitude. Kingcup cactus generally flowers from April to June [2,3,11,14].


SPECIES: Echinocereus triglochidiatus
FIRE ECOLOGY OR ADAPTATIONS : Specific information concerning adaptations that kingcup cactus may have for survival following fire is not available in the literature. Single-stemmed individuals are probably susceptible to fire due to their relatively small size. When kingcup cactus forms compact mounds, interior stems may be protected by outer stems, enabling them to survive fire. Cacti may escape fire in refugia or in areas with fuels too sparse to carry a fire [16]. Since kingcup cactus usually grows under shade, it is less likely to escape fire than species that grow on open sites with little surrounding vegetation. Cacti do not appear to store seed in soil seedbanks [16]. FIRE REGIMES: Find fire regime information for the plant communities in which this species may occur by entering the species name in the FEIS home page under "Find Fire Regimes". POSTFIRE REGENERATION STRATEGY : NO-ENTRY


SPECIES: Echinocereus triglochidiatus
IMMEDIATE FIRE EFFECT ON PLANT : Specific information concerning the effect of fire on kingcup cactus is not available in the literature. Kingcup cactus is probably killed by most fires. Succulents in general rarely actually burn, but spines may ignite and carry flames to the apex. The cactus body may scorch and blister without pyrolysis, leaving undamaged parts of the plant alive. Mortality results from death of the photosynthetic tissue and underlying phloem and cambium. Cacti may appear completely scorched with no green tissue visible, yet may survive fire. However, fire can cause delayed mortality, which may not occur for months or even years. Removal of the spines may also increase subsequent herbivory. Survival of succulents depends primarily on protection of the apical meristem. If the apical meristem is undamaged, the cactus will resume growth [16]. DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF FIRE EFFECT : NO-ENTRY PLANT RESPONSE TO FIRE : NO-ENTRY DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF PLANT RESPONSE : NO-ENTRY FIRE MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS : NO-ENTRY


SPECIES: Echinocereus triglochidiatus
REFERENCES : 1. Anon. 1990. Endangered species of Utah. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Region. Pamphlet. [20831] 2. Anon. 1992. Handbook of Arizona's endangered, threatened, and candidate plants. Summer 1992. [Place of publication unknown]: [Publisher unknown]. 57 p. On file with: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory, Missoula, MT. [20963] 3. Benson, Lyman. 1982. The cacti of the United States and Canada. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. 1044 p. [1513] 4. Bernard, Stephen R.; Brown, Kenneth F. 1977. Distribution of mammals, reptiles, and amphibians by BLM physiographic regions and A.W. Kuchler's associations for the eleven western states. Tech. Note 301. Denver, CO: U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management. 169 p. [434] 5. Butterwick, Mary; Parfitt, Bruce D.; Hillyard, Deborah. 1992. Vascular plants of the northern Hualapai Mountains, Arizona. Journal of the Arizona-Nevada Academy of Science. 24-25: 31-49. [18327] 6. Cole, David N.; Hall, Troy E. 1992. Trends in campsite condition: Eagle Cap Wilderness, Bob Marshall Wilderness, and Grand Canyon National Park. Res. Pap. INT-453. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station. 40 p. [17764] 7. Eyre, F. H., ed. 1980. Forest cover types of the United States and Canada. Washington, DC: Society of American Foresters. 148 p. [905] 8. Garrison, George A.; Bjugstad, Ardell J.; Duncan, Don A.; [and others]. 1977. Vegetation and environmental features of forest and range ecosystems. Agric. Handb. 475. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. 68 p. [998] 9. Bowles, Marlin; Flakne, Robyn; McEachern, Kathryn; Pavlovic, Noel. 1993. Recovery planning and reintroduction of the federally threatened pitcher's thistle (Cirsium pitcheri) in Illinois. Natural Areas Journal. 13(3): 164-176. [22355] 10. Hickman, James C., ed. 1993. The Jepson manual: Higher plants of California. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. 1400 p. [21992] 11. Kearney, Thomas H.; Peebles, Robert H.; Howell, John Thomas; McClintock, Elizabeth. 1960. Arizona flora. 2d ed. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. 1085 p. [6563] 12. Kuchler, A. W. 1964. Manual to accompany the map of potential vegetation of the conterminous United States. Special Publication No. 36. New York: American Geographical Society. 77 p. [1384] 13. Lowe, Charles H. 1964. Arizona's natural environment: Landscapes and habitats. Tucson, AZ: The University of Arizona Press. 136 p. [20736] 14. Munz, Philip A. 1974. A flora of southern California. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. 1086 p. [4924] 15. Raunkiaer, C. 1934. The life forms of plants and statistical plant geography. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 632 p. [2843] 16. Thomas, P. A. 1991. Response of succulents to fire: a review. International Journal of Wildland Fire. 1(1): 11-22. [14991] 17. Turner, Raymond M. 1982. Great Basin desertscrub. In: Brown, David E., ed. Biotic communities of the American Southwest--United States and Mexico. Desert Plants. 4(1-4): 145-155. [2373] 18. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Soil Conservation Service. 1982. National list of scientific plant names. Vol. 1. List of plant names. SCS-TP-159. Washington, DC. 416 p. [11573] 19. U.S. Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service. 1993. Endangered and threatened wildlife and plants. 50 CFR 17.11 and 17.12. Washington, DC. 40 p. [22398] 20. Welsh, Stanley L.; Atwood, N. Duane; Goodrich, Sherel; Higgins, Larry C., eds. 1987. A Utah flora. Great Basin Naturalist Memoir No. 9. Provo, UT: Brigham Young University. 894 p. [2944] 21. Yeaton, Richard I. 1982. Ecomorphology and habitat utilization of Echinocereus engelmannii and E. triglochidiatus (Cactaceae) in southeastern California. Great Basin Naturalist. 42(3): 353-359. [22566] 22. Arp, Gerald. 1973. Studies in the Colorado cacti V. The spineless hedgehog. Cactus & Succulent Journal. 45(3): 132-133. [22640] 23. Ferguson, David J. 1989. Revision of the U.S. members of the Echinocereus triglochidiatus group. Cactus & Succulent Journal. 61: 217-224. [22641] 24. Fischer, Pierre C. 1991. Echinocereus triglochidiatus variety toroweapensis: A new variety from the Grand Canyon. Cactus and Succulent Journal. 63(4): 194-195. [22639] 25. Hoffman, M. Timm. 1992. Functional dioecy in Echinocereus coccineus (Cactaceae): breeding system, sex ratios, and geographic range of floral dimorphism. American Journal of Botany. 79(12): 1382-1388. [20080] 26. Taylor, Nigel P. 1985. The genus Echinocereus. Kew Magazine Monograph. Middlesex, England: Collingridge Books. 160 p. In association with The Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew. [22638] 27. The Network of Natural Heritage Programs and Conservation Data Centers and The Nature Conservancy. 1994. Federally listed vascular plants. Arlington, VA: The Nature Conservancy, Central Conservation Databases. 11 p. [23106] 28. U.S. Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service. 2016. Endangered Species Program, [Online]. Available: [86564] 29. Flora of North America Editorial Committee, eds. 2018. Flora of North America north of Mexico, [Online]. Flora of North America Association (Producer). Available: [36990]

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