is a variant of the more widespread, generally larger but otherwise very similar echinocereus triglochidiatus
, characterised by sprawling clusters, bright red/orange flowers with green stigma and rounded petals, low to medium spine cover and somewhat flabby stems. Clumps may have over 100 members, each up to 10 inches in length, and cover an area of several square feet. These two echinocereus species can only definitively be identified by analysing their chromosomes, though the location is a guide as the ranges are largely separate, overlapping only in New Mexico and a small area of southern Colorado. Also, coccineus plants tend to have more spines, more areoles and more ribs.
There are several regional varieties of echinocereus coccineus, distinguished by differences in spine number and length, but all plants prefer partly shaded locations and are often obscured by twigs or long grass, though they become very visible when blooming in the spring.