Munz's Hedgehog Cactus (Echinocereus engelmannii (Parry) Ruempler var. munzii Pierce & Fosb.]

Munz's Hedgehog Cactus (Echinocereus engelmannii (Parry) Ruempler var. munzii Pierce & Fosb.]

Listing CNPS Unlisted R-E-D Code - None

State/Federal. Status None CACTACEAE Apr.-May

Global Rank None State Rank None

Distribution: San Diego County, Riverside County, and San Bernardino County; Baja California, Mexico

Habitat: Chaparral and a xeric, open sage scrub are the preferred habitat at Vail Lake of this distinctive cactus with long, twisting central spines. The Vail Lake locale has the soil type mapped as Badlands. In the mountains of San Bernardino County Munz's Hedgehog Cactus is found in pebble plains and Pinyon/Juniper Woodland which are apparently more typical habitat for this species.

Known Sites: Herbarium specimens examined with twisted spines were from near Lake Cuyamaca 0.5 mile northeast of the intersection of State Highway 79 and S-2, a ridge east of Stonewall Peak, and 2.5 miles east of Jacumba. An historical, unverified report is from Chariot Canyon. An old biological survey report notes this species south of Highway S-22 and east of Grapevine Canyon near Ranchita. It grows in localized abundance in the open scrub immediately north of Vail Lake; as well as near Sage in western Riverside County. Munz's Hedgehog Cactus is also reported in Riverside County in Garner Valley below Kenworthy, in Bear Valley; as well as by Benson in the San Bernardino Mountains. Data Base reports show locales for San Bernardino County at Coxey Meadow 1.5 miles northeast of Dawn O'Day Canyon, a ridge south of Woodlands 0.6 mile southeast of the intersection of Willow Lane and Meadow Lane, the Johnston Grade 1 mile east of Doble, the north end of Baldwin Lake, the southeast slope of Gold Mountain 1 mile southeast of the summit, Gold Hill south of Baldwin Lake, north of Yocum spring 1.25 miles west of the Rose Mine, Erwin Lake, east of Johnston Grade approximately 0.5 mile south of Top Spring along Smarts Ranch Road, and in Little Pine Flat 0.3 mile northeast of Shay Spring.

Fifteen herbarium specimens of Echinocereus engelmannii from Baja California are found at the San Diego Natural History Museum (some of which may represent the Munz' Hedgehog Cactus), south to 28 44' North where collected by Moran (SD 60503) on the west slope of Cerro Quemazon. Identification for determining subspecies status is uncertain with these specimens.

Status: The present taxonomic status of this cactus is uncertain; in the 1993 Jepson manual no varieties of this hedgehog cactus are recognized. Given the variability exhibited in spination traits, this may be an appropriate decision. Benson notes this variety is best identified by the betacyanin pigmentation of the flowers with a bluish cast to the red flowers, and by the four central spines instead of one. Typically the spines are twisted.

Copyright May 1994 Craig H. Reiser.

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