Federal and State Listed Species of Texas:
Black lace cactus
Black lace cactus only grows within the South Texas Coastal Bend counties of Jim Wells, Kleberg, and Refugio.
Black lace cactus is a succulent perennial that grows in clusters of 1-12+ stems that are to 20 cm tall. The stems are sometimes branched and have 10-13 vertical ridges that are divided into spine-tipped, cone-shaped projections. Spines arising from each of these projections are numerous and so dense that they hide the stem completely. Most of the spines (radial spines) form a tight ring around the projection’s tip, lay flat against the stem, and point sideways, spaced like the teeth of a comb. If present, another spine (the central spine) arises interior to the radial spines and points out from the stem or slightly upward. There are typically 14-20 radial spines, which are white to pink with dark purple tips and grow 3-6 mm long. The single central spine (not always present) is dark purple or black and 2-15 mm long. Black lace cacti have purple-pink flowers with a crimson center and dark green, 15-20 mm long fruits.
Black lace cactus is closely related to Fitch’s hedgehog cactus (Echinocereus reichenbachii var. fitchii), but Fitch’s hedgehog cactus has 4-7 muddy red-tipped central spines. The two cacti also occupy different areas and habitats of Texas. Fitch’s hedgehog cactus populations inhabit only shrublands over limestone, sandy or saline soils and further west and south in the South Texas Brush Country than black lace cactus.
Black lace cactus occurs in coastal grasslands and openings in dense scrublands and woodlands along the Gulf Coastal Plain.
Life Cycle Events
Flowering occurs from April to June, fruiting shortly thereafter.
Black lace cactus can be found throughout the year; however, it is most easily found while in flower from April to June.
- Rare Plants of Texas
- U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
- NatureServe: Echinocereus reichenbachii
- NatureServe: Echinocereus reichenbachii var. albertii
- Center for Plant Conservation
- Westlund, B.L. 1991. Cactus trade and collection impact study. Section 6 final report. Austin: Texas Parks & Wildlife Department.
- Benson, L. 1982. The cacti of the United States and Canada. Stanford University Press. Stanford, California.