From the Greek echinos, a hedgehog, the Latin fossula, a groove, and Cactus, referring to the grooved, prickly plants (Cactaceae). Greenhouse cacti, sometimes found under the genus Stenocactus. An easily recognised genus as the plants are globular and later columnar, with many ribs, up to 35 in some species. These ribs are very thin and wavy, thus presenting plenty of skin to the atmosphere but not to the direct rays of the sun. Theare all produced at the growing tip of plant.
E. crispatus, about 25 ribs, with strong spines, purple flowers. E. hastatus, 35 wavy ribs, stiff spines, flowers yellowish-white. E. xiphacanthus, very strong flattened, sword-like spines, flowers pale mauve. All are from Mexico.
The compost should be very porous, made from a compost with few added nutrients, plus a sixth part of sharp sand, grit and broken brick added. Use a pot just larger than the base of the plant. Repot in March or April, water sparingly at all times and give none in winter. Temperatures should range from 65-80 °F (18-27°C) in summer, down to 40 °F (4°C) in winter. Plants like plenty of sunshine. Propagation is by seed sown in a good seed compost in pans in early spring in a temperature of 70 °F (21°C). Shade the seedlings from sun while young. Few plants make offsets.