Yellow Cactus Flower, Oliver Lee Memorial State Park, Alamogordo NM, April 15, 2015


Texas Rainbow Cactus flower, Oliver Lee Memorial State Park, Alamogordo NM

April 15, 2015

It's cactus flower season in southern New Mexico

There are some spectacular blooms out here these days. I no more than arrived at Oliver Lee Memorial State Park when I came across this one I especially like.

There is at least one New Mexico Agave, Agave Parryi var Neomexicana here that is budded and about ready to bloom but alas I'll probably miss it. I'd love to stay for the blooming but I must leave in a couple of days. I've never seen one in bloom. Bummer.

Texas Rainbow Cactus, Echinocereus dasyacanthus

Echinocereus dasyacanthus plants are usually found with a single stem or 2-3 basal branches. Though it is not uncommon to find plants with 3-10 stems. The stems of Texas Rainbow Cactus are between 11–24 cm long and 5.5–7 cm wide and usually have 15-18 ribs. The spines usually overlap making the stem not visible. There is a great amount of variation in the spines characteristics. There are typically 4-12 central spines that are .5-1.2 cm long and 14-25 radial spines that are .7–2 cm long. The basic coloration of the spines are tan to yellow to pink. Some spines may be ashy-white to reddish brown, but that is less common.

The flowering season for E. dasyacanthus is between the months of March and May. The large flower of the plant grow at the sides of the stem above the areoles close to the stem apex. The flowers are typically 8–12 cm long and 7–11 cm wide. The flowers smell sweet and are pollinated by bees. In the Trans-Pecos region of Texas the flowers are usually bright yellow with a green throat. Other color the flowers may be include dark to pale yellow, canary yellow, golden yellow or deep red to rose pink. Since this taxon of cacti are mostly yellow flowered, flowers that are beta cyanic and orange are less common. The tepals are relatively thick and durable compared to E. reichenbachii, but thin and soft compared to E. coccineus. The stamens of the flowers have filaments resulting in the floral throat being filled with a funnel of yellow anthers.