Sunday, April 08, 2012

Texas Rainbow Hedgehog Cactus at the El Paso Museum of Archaeology

Texas Rainbow Hedgehog Cactus next to a few remaining spring mountain poppies outside
the El Paso Museum of Archaeology yesterday

The contrasting bands on the the cactus stem
gives the name "rainbow" and indicate
bands of yearly growth

Yesterday, we were delighted to see spring blooms at the El Paso Museum of Archaeology on Trans Mountain Road.  There were still poppies blooming from last weekend's poppy festival, and there were also several cacti blooming.  Spring is a great time to visit the museum's desert garden.

The Texas Rainbow Hedgehog cactus (Echinocereus dasyacanthus) was a real beauty.  The "rainbow" in the name refers to the contrasting colored bands on the stem, each reflecting a year's growth.  Spines are usually numerous, overlapping and interlocking, forming a mesh that covers the green color of the stem.  Blooms appear in the spring from March to May, earlier at lower elevations and later at higher elevations. The blossoms are bee-pollinated.  They open in the morning and close at night, and last about a week.

More about the El Paso Museum of Archaeology from their website:
El Paso Museum of Archaeology
The El Paso Museum of Archaeology tells the story of the first inhabitants of the El Paso area, the greater Southwest, and northern Mexico. Dioramas and exhibits in the museum narrate and depict American Indian lives and display their material culture from the Paleoindian hunters of the Ice Age to their modern Indian descendants. The exhibits and their content are periodically changed to reflect the scope of the museum's collections and the interests of the community.

The museum's grounds include 15 acres of nature trails, outdoor exhibits, and a desert garden with more than 250 varieties of native plants. There is also a gazebo for family picnics and small group activities.
The Museum of Archaeology is adjacent to the National Border Patrol Museum on Trans Mountain Road, near Franklin Mountains State Park.

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