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The Genus Hechtia

Plants in the genus Hechtia are some of my favorite plants, partially because they are beautiful and interesting, but also because they are often completely ignored by other plant people! They are tough and hard-scrabble plants that specialize in growing in the toughest places so there is less competition.


There are over 60 species in the genus and almost all of them are only found in Mexico. One species (Hechtia texensis) is found in northern Mexico and reaches a little ways into southern Texas and there are three species that are found south of Mexico into Guatemala and Honduras (H. dicroantha, H. guatemalensis, and H. malvernii).


Probably one of the most spectacular species in the genus is Hechtia argentea (left). Found in a single canyon system, it covers the walls along with two other species and a few tillandsias.

One curious thing about the genus is that there are two different modes of flowering. Part of the genus behaves like most of the family, producing the flower stalk from the terminal bud in the center of the rosette of leaves (right). The other part of the genus produces their flower stalks from lateral buds between the leaves (above). To me this is fascinating and makes me wonder if we should consider them to be separate genera instead of a unified genus.

They grow in some awesome places and can make quite an impression with the bright colors.

Some notable species that are lateral blooming type include: Hechtia glomerata, H. argentea, H. pretiosa, and H. schottii.

Some interesting terminal blooming species include: Hechtia podantha, H. zamudioi, H. lyman-smithii, H. lanata, H. fosteriana, H. caudata, and H. montana.

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