Microscopic View of a Hedgehog Cactus Fruit

Hedgehog cacti of the Echinocereus genus are relatively small-stature cactus plants with multiple cylindrical stems.

In eastern Arizona, Fendler hedgehog (Echinocereus fendleri) may go unnoticed for much of the year until its brilliant pink blooms open in April-May. The large round fruits are bright red and ripe, attractive to many wildlife species that help disperse the hedgehog cactus seeds after consuming the juicy fruits. 

In the spring, gorgeous hedgehog flowers bloom briefly and attract many native bees including a sweat bee like the iridescent green one swimming through the pollen-covered stamen of this flower.

A hedgehog cactus with a bright pink bloom.

The flowers eventually develop into fruits, which can become very ripe like the one in this photo.

A very ripe and red hedgehog cactus fruit.

A close look at the pulp and seed of a hedgehog cactus fruit shows us the hundreds of seeds that wildlife, like birds and mammals, will disperse after eating this tasty meal.

These hundreds of seed will help propagate this cactus species across the Sky Islands.

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