Echinofossulocactus erectocentrus SB309 MG299.13     1/14/18
The plant pictured is a species recognized by no expert at all, but Mesa Garden sells about two dozen different seed collections.
The next eight pictures are of members of Echinofossulocactus, a genus that has confused everyone, experts included, since the day a second member of the genus was reported. The experts today recognize maybe seven species. I think that they are wrong; there are more. Just because speciation is difficult doesn't justify nonsensical opinions. I've grown this genus for over 40 years. I have two plants (both E. ochoterenae) that are about 40 years old. It is an easy bunch of plants to keep, I think. I don't remember losing any to rot, but since I didn't take careful notes over the 40 years, this may have happened. The virtues of the genus, besides their toughness in the hands of their human keepers, is that their large, often soft, spines guard their small spines, so stabbing yourself requires some skill on your part. They flower very early, and the flowers appear over several weeks to months. The flowers themselves last 3 to 7 days, and don't close very much at night. All members of the genus grow very slowly and can be dwarfed easily in any size pot you would like. They will get large if you want, but this takes a long time. My 40 year olds are about the size of the volume made by my two hands touched fingertip to fingertip. They provide two essences of cacti - wonderful spines and nice, if unspectacular, flowers. In some years, there may be more than one flowering period. The first year my E. crispatus bloomed for me in late winter, these four plants had three more flowering periods, the last in my greenhouse at the start of winter. I had essentially ten months of continuous flowers from them that year. (25/32)