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Mojave Kingcup Cactus (Echinocereus mojavensis)
Cactus Around Las Vegas, Vegetation Around Las Vegas
Mojave Kingcup Cactus (Echinocereus mojavensis)

General: Mojave Kingcup Cactus (Echinocereus mojavensis), also called Mojave Claret Cup, is mound-shaped plant formed of many, densely packed stems to about 1-foot tall and densely covered with gray, twisted and interlocking spines. The spines are round rather than angled spines.

Mojave Kingcup Cactus is a fairly common component of vegetation communities on well-drained gravelly and rocky soils on upper bajadas and slopes into the mountains in the Upper Sonoran (Pinyon-Juniper Woodland), Transition (Yellow Pine Forest), and Canadian (Pine-Fir Forest) life zones.

Around Las Vegas, Kingcup Cactus can be found most easily in the Pinyon-Juniper woodlands on Mt. Charleston and in the Mojave National Preserve.

Mojave Kingcup Cactus (Echinocereus mojavensis)

Family: Cactus (Cactaceae).

Other Names: Claret Cup Cactus, Echinocereus triglochidiatus.

Plant Form: Mound-shaped plant formed of many, densely packed stems.

Height: Usually to about 1-foot tall, to 16 inches.

Mojave Kingcup Cactus (Echinocereus mojavensis)

Trunk: None.

Stems: Entire, cylindrical; mound composed of up to about 500 individual stems, each usually less than about 2 inches diameter, bluish green.

Stem Surface: Ribbed, about 10 ribs per stem.

Spines: Gray, round, to about 2-inches long, curved (almost wavy) and twisting, often interlocking with those of neighboring stems to form a dense web of spines covering the mound. Central and radial spines difficult to distinguish.

Mojave Kingcup Cactus (Echinocereus mojavensis)
Mojave Kingcup Cactus on Mt. Charleston.

Glochids: Absent.

Flowers: Blooms during spring (early for cactus). Inflorescence: Solitary flowers emerge from near the tip of individual stems. Flowers: funnel-shaped; orange to red, to about 3-1/2-inches diameter.

Fruit: Cylindrical, about 1-inch long, 1/2-inch diameter. Reddish when ripe, spines deciduous.

Seeds:

Mojave Kingcup Cactus (Echinocereus mojavensis)
Very large mound.

Habitat: Dry, well-drained gravelly and rocky soils on upper bajadas and moderate slopes into the mountains.

Distribution: Southern California to Colorado, and south through Texas into Mexico.

Elevation: About 5,000 feet to 10,000 feet.

Comments:

Mojave Kingcup Cactus (Echinocereus mojavensis)
Mojave Kingcup Cactus flowers
Mojave Kingcup Cactus (Echinocereus mojavensis)
Mojave Kingcup Cactus flowers
Mojave Kingcup Cactus (Echinocereus mojavensis)
Mound-shaped plant with spines
Mojave Kingcup Cactus (Echinocereus mojavensis)
Curved, interlocking spines on a Mojave Kingcup Cactus
Mojave Kingcup Cactus (Echinocereus mojavensis)
Typical growth form for Mojave Kingcup Cactus shows
many individual stems
Mojave Kingcup Cactus (Echinocereus mojavensis)

Note: All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate. Names generally follow the USDA database.
© 2014 Jim Boone; Last updated 141025

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