2019 55¢ Cactus Flower (Echinocactus horizonthalonius)
Value: 55¢ 1-ounce First-class rate (Forever)
Issue Date: February 15, 2019
First Day City: Mesa, AZ
Type of Stamp: Definitive
Printed by: Banknote Corporation of America
Printing Method: Offset
Format: Double-sided booklet of 20
Quantity Printed: 400,000,000
Nearly all species of cactus grow spines of some kind. Some are long and flexible while others might be short and prickly. No matter what type of thorns are present, it pays to be careful around these formidable plants.
One species of cactus that is especially good at defending itself is Echinocactus horizonthalonius. This plant has many different common names, each more fierce sounding than the last – eagle's clw, devil's head, horse crippler, and more. These name's reference the cactus's brutal-looking spines that can measure up to two inches long. In fact, sometimes on smaller cacti, the spines are so long that they overlap one another, forming a seemingly impenetrable cage around the rest of the plant.
The eagle's claw cactus is native to the Southwest United States and northern Mexico. It is a pale green-blue, relatively round, and can grow to over 17 inches tall. Unlike most cacti, the ribs of the eagle's claw twist around the body of the plant instead of growing straight up and down. This species can be grown indoors but must receive a lot of sunlight. From March to May, teh cactus produces large bright pink flowers. Despite its normally intimidating appearance, the eagle's claw is one of the most beautiful sites in the springtime desert.