Etymology Named in honour of Eugene de Bauharnais, the Duke of Leuchtenberg and prince of Eichstadt (1781-1824), a stepson of Napoleon I.Leuchtenbergia consists of a single species, L. principis that is quite distinct in shape from every other cactus species. It is immediately recognizable due to its extremely elongated triangular tubercles which reach up to 5 inches (14cm) in length! These tubercles are arranged in a rosette fashion that is reminiscent of an Agave or Yucca. At the end of each of these tubercles is an areole with long, papery, flexible spines. These spines can exceed 8 inches (36 cm) in length. Flowers come from new tubercles in the center of the plant and are bright yellow and easily exceed 2 inches (5cm) in diameter.
Leuchtenbergia occurs over a wide range in the Chihuahuan desert of Mexico. It has been in cultivation since the middle 1800's and is very common in cultivation today. Aside from their very unique growth habit and big yellow diurnal flowers, these plants are are vigorous growers which adds to their popularity.
Interestingly, L. principis has been crossed with Ferocactus species to make an inter-generic hybrid of xFerobergia.