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Echinocactus horizonthalonius – Eagle's Claw


Scientific Name

Echinocactus horizonthalonius Lem.

Common Names

Eagle's Claw, Eagle's Claw Cactus, Devil's Head Cactus, Devilshead, Turk's Head Cactus, Turk's Head, Blue Barrel Cactus, Silverbell Cactus, Horse Maimer, Horse Crippler


Echinocactus equitans, Echinocactus horizontalis, Echinocactus horizonthalonius subsp. horizonthalonius, Echinocactus laticostatus, Echinocactus pachycornis, Meyerocactus horizonthalonius

Scientific Classification

Family: Cactaceae
Subfamily: Cactoideae
Tribe: Cacteae
Genus: Echinocactus


Echinocactus horizonthalonius is a relatively small barrel cactus up to 18 inches (45 cm) tall and up to 8 inches (20 cm) wide. It is gray-green to blue-gray in color and spherical, hemispherical, columnar, or flat-topped in shape and normally grows unbranched. The body is made up of curving sections that twist around the body in a helical fashion. These sections are lined with areoles bearing up to 10 spines each. The pink, gray, or brown spines may be up to 1.6 inches (4 cm) long. The flowers are bright pink to magenta and up to 3.6 inches (9 cm) wide. They open around midday and close for the night. They also open after the plant receives rainfall, and although most of the flowers occur in June, they may bloom again in late summer and fall if rain occurs. The fruit is hairy or woolly and pink or red in color.

How to Grow and Care

Overall, these are very attractive cacti for dish gardens or indoor display. A collection of them is especially attractive, as they look like a collection of balls tossed upon the ground. It's critical, however, to never let these cactus be exposed to prolonged periods in water, or even very high humidity. They will suffer from rot in the presence of humidity. Echinocactus are vulnerable to pests including aphids, mealy bugs, scale, and white fly. If possible, identify the infestation as early as possible and treat with the leave toxic option.

It's best to repot in the beginning of the growing season, or summer. To repot a cacti, make sure the soil is dry before repotting, then gently remove the pot. Knock away the old soil from the roots, making sure to remove any rotted or dead roots in the process… – See more at: How to Grow and Care for Echinocactus.


Native to the southwestern United States and northern Mexico, where it occurs in Chihuahuan Desert and Sonoran Desert habitats, particularly on limestone substrates.


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