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Hello and welcome to Echinopsis.com!

What’s an Echinopsis? A type of cactus originally from South America that features amazing flowers … amazing in at least four ways:

– The flowers of most Echinopsis varieties are incredibly colorful … often featuring two or more hues working in harmony.

– The flowers are often giant … 5″-6″ in diameter … and frequently dwarf the cactus that grows them.

– They frequently appear in flushes of multiple flowers opening at the same time.

– Most cacti produce just one flush of flowers each year. But Echinopsis can produce flush after flush of flower for as long as the daytime temperatures remain above 70F/21C.

Echinopsis is pronounced Ech … in … op … sis. But where does the name come from? Once you understand the its Latin roots, you’ll discover the name makes great sense.

“Echin” comes from the Latin word “Ekihnos,” which meant both sea urchin and hedgehog.  (Yes, it does seem like Latin speakers way back when might have come up with distinct words for these two pretty different creatures, but apparently they did not).

The “opsis” at the end of Echinopsis is another Latin word, one which means “resembling” or “appearance.”

So Echinopsis means hedgehog resembling or sea urchin appearance. A very accurate description for this genus of cacti that are often ball shaped growing to about 6” in diameter and, yep, covered with hedgehog-like and sea urchin-esq thorns.

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The echinopsis in the foreground and background of the image above display the typical sea urchin shape. The Aquila hybrid in the foreground has just begun to grow dozens of flowers … each “cotton” puff is the beginning of one.

A nickname for Echinopsis is Easter Lily Cactus … a moniker that may stem from the shape of the flowers Echinopsis produce as well as the fact that one of the most common types of Echinopsis has white-pink flowers.

And, boy, the flowers … they are extraordinary. Often 4″, 5″ or even 6″ in diameter and frequently much larger than the cactus that produced them. Each flower is an incredibly intricate work of art with several layers of petals … each layer often in a different color or hue.   Yes, white and white-pink earning the Easter Lilly nickname. But also flowers in reds, violets, oranges, yellows and numerous mixtures. Such a shame they only last a day or two after opening, though I guess that really makes them all the more special.

antares-14-mai-2013-cinq-fleur

In the picture above five 5″ diameter flowers grow from a 4″ diameter Echinopsis of the Antares hybrid.

I hope you enjoy learning more about Echinopsis here at echinopsis.com … yep, pretty sick, a fan site for a type of cactus!