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Echinocereus pentalophus (Lady Finger Cactus)


Scientific Name

Echinocereus pentalophus (DC.) Lem.

Common Names

Alicoche, Devil's Fingers, Dog Tail, Lady Finger Cactus


Cereus pentalophus, Echinocereus pentalophus subsp. pentalophus, Echinocereus procumbens, Echinocereus pentalophus subsp. procumbens

Scientific Classification

Family: Cactaceae
Subfamily: Cactoideae
Tribe: Pachycereeae
Genus: Echinocereus


Echinocereus pentalophus is a cactus that forms multiple finger-like stems with 4 to 6 ribs and 4 to 8 spines per areole. The stems are green to reddish-purple, up to 3.3 feet (1 m) long, and up to 1 inch (2.5 cm) in diameter. Spines are stiff and white or yellowish. One of the spines is a little longer and more central. In late spring, this cactus produces many brilliant pink or magenta flowers. They are up to 6 inches (15 cm) in diameter and are followed by green fruits.

Echinocereus pentalophus (Lady Finger Cactus)

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USDA hardiness zones 9a to 11b: from 20 °F (−6.7 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).

How to Grow and Care

If you can successfully grow other globular cactus, you can most likely grow Echinocereus well. One of the key factors in success with these is avoiding any hint of wet soil. Because their root systems are weak, they are especially prone to root rot, eventually killing your plant. Otherwise, they thrive on a program of intense, bright light, little water, and a steady diet of light fertilizer. These cacti are vulnerable to mealybugs and aphids.

Echinocereus are slow-growing cacti that should only need repotting every other year or so. You can prolong the time to repotting by removing plantlets and potting them up in their own pots. When repotting a cactus, carefully remove it from its pot and knock away any clumped soil. These plants tend to be shallow-rooted with weak root systems, so take care not to damage their roots.

Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Echinocereus.


Echinocereus pentalophus is native to North America (the United States and central and eastern Mexico).



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