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Strawberry Hedgehog Cactus

Natural History

The strawberry hedgehog is a frequently seen cactus in the Sonoran desert. They have straight, upright stems which grow to about 3" in diameter and about a foot tall. Hedgehogs are typically found in clusters and are most easily recognized when they are blooming with bright magenta flowers. Strawberry hedgehogs are found in desert areas from central Arizona to northern Mexico.

Strawberry hedgehogs get their name from their fruits, which are edible and produce a sugary juice.

The areoles (roundish pads which produce spines) usually contain one principal spine and about a dozen smaller  radial barbs. Hedgehogs, unlike most other cacti, have flowers that grow right out of the skin, rather than from the areoles. The flowers, which bloom in April, are cup shaped (about 3" wide) and contain a green stigma in the center. The blooms usually last several days. The fruits are sweet and eaten by many animals including squirrels and birds.


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