Rare cactus in Southern Texas.

Just below Falcon Dam is one of the most extraordinary sites in the Rio Grande Valley….

Biologists refer to this area as the Chihuahuan Thorn Forest, and it is also know as the Falcon Woodlands….


One of the rarest is the spindly Wilcox cactus that produces showy pink blooms.

This delicate cactus grows several feet tall and entangles with other thorny shrubs for support of its long delicate stems.

It was tough to figure out what this cactus is, what with the poor photo quality taken straight from video, and the errors that I recently made mistaking an echinocereus for an opuntia, plus a recently discovered ongoing feud we’ve apparently had for the last 2 years with a peniocereus grower, has led me to be gun-shy.

Hah! Hardly. I figured this was probably a peniocereus. “Wilcox Cactus” doesn’t track with anything, but there used to be a genus called wilcoxia. Now that’s a ridiculous name for a cactus, so it’s a good thing they got rid of it, once and for all. And look here, most of the former wilcoxias have been moved to peniocereus! Bingo!

And yet, it’s not. There are a number of subtle clues that our peniocereus nemesis could probably share with us, I’m sure, but Anderson’s “The Cactus Family” is pretty convincing that this is Echinocereus poselgeri. Presto, signore.

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May 2020

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