From the Greek echinos, a hedgehog, and Cactus, referring to the numerous spines (Cactaceae).
Greenhouse cactus plants. Many new genera have been formed from this genus, including: Astrophytum, Epithelantha, Ferocactus, Gymnocalycium, Hamatacactus, Malacocarpus, Notocactus, and Parodia. Most species are large growing and are not easy to flower in temperate climates owing to the lack of strong sunshine.
E. ingens, stem globular becoming columnar when old, greenish-grey, woolly at the top, ribs increasing in number with age,reddish-yellow. E. grusonii, golden barrel cactus, mother-in-law’s chair, a great favourite, a football-shaped plant with many strong, golden-yellow spines. It is not likely to flower in Britain. E. visnaga, large-growing species, flowers glossy yellow. All are from Mexico.
The medium should consist of compost with few added nutrients with a sixth part extra of sharp sand, grit and broken brick in well-drained pots. The plants should be given a position in a sunny greenhouse. Repot every three or four years or when the plant reaches the side of its pot. Water sparingly from March to September; keep quite dry in winter.
Temperatures: 65-75°F (18-24°C) in summer and 40°F (4°C) in winter. Give plenty of ventilation in hot weather. As these plants rarely make offsets propagation is from seed sown in a good seed compost. Just cover the seed lightly, keep moist and shaded in a temperature of 70°F (21°C).