Echinocactus texensis – Horse Crippler


Scientific Name

Echinocactus texensis Hopffer

Common Names

Horse Crippler, Devil’s Pincushion, Horse Crippler Cactus, Devil’s Head, Candy Cactus


Echinocactus courantianus, Echinocactus lindheimeri, Echinocactus platycephalus, Homalocephala texensis

Scientific Classification

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


Color: Rose-pink to pale silvery-pink
Bloom Time: Late spring


Echinocactus texensis is a stout barrel cactus, solitary when young and very rarely slowly clustering in age. The stem is pale grey-green to grass green with numerous ribs, above-ground portion, flat-topped, hemispheric in old age but usually deep-seated, flush with soil surface, up to 8 inches (20 cm) tall and up to 12 inches (30 cm) in diameter. Spines are small but strong, pale tan, pink or reddish to grey. Flowers are up to 2.4 inches (6 cm) long and in diameter, range from white thru rose-pink to pale silvery-pink, with red throats in late spring and can appear on plants around 4 inches (10 cm) in diameter.

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

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 southeast New Mexico, west, central and south Texas.


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