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Scientific: Ferocactus cylindraceus (Synonyms: Echinocactus cylindraceus, Echinocactus viridescens var. cylindraceus, Echinocactus acanthodes, Ferocactus acanthodes)
Common: California barrel cactus, desert barrel cactus, compass barrel cactus, biznaga
Family: Cactaceae
Origin: Upland eastern Mojave and western Sonoran Deserts south into northern Baja California and Sonora, Mexico from sea level to 4,500 feet in elevation on rocky, limestone-based soils.

Pronounciation: Fare-o-CAC-tus sa-lin-DRA-see-us

Hardiness zones
USDA 9-11 (arid zones only)

Landscape Use: Accent cacti for xeric landscapes, desert gardens, containers.

Form & Character: This is a stout, slowly developing columnar cacti that can evoke feelings of solitary and loneliness in the landscape.

Growth Habit: Evergreen, succulent perennial, stout, short, very slow growing and long-lived columnar cactus eventually to 7-feet tall by 1.5-feet wide, seldom branch at the base.

Foliage/Texture: California barrel cactus has stiff, straight red spines when immature becoming cruved and gray with age. Spines are found growing on the ridges in clusters, 12 to 32, at each aerole, center spines, usually four at each areole are largest and longest; VERY coarse texture.

Flowers & Fruits: California barrel cactus has ringed clusters of small cup-shaped flowers at the terminal meristem in shades of yellow, flower sepals are maroon. Flowering is followed by development of sometimes dense terminal clusters of bright yellow, oval-shaped, mostly fleshy but hallow fruit, generally dehiscent to 3/4-inch long at the apex of the barrel. Each fruit contain as many as 30,000 seeds.

Seasonal Color: Flowers provide a subtle visual accent during the early summer heat of May and fruit give a yellow hat-like adornment during the following fall and winter.

Temperature: Tolerant

Light: Full sun

Soil: In urban landscape soils with limited topography (slope) California barrel cacti MUST have a well-drained soil.

Watering: None

Pruning: None

Propagation: Seed

Disease and pests: Root rot in poorly drained soils.

Additional comments: California barrel cacti are easily transplanted and are nice solitary cacti for rock gardens and desert landscape themes. Forma cresta (crested form) is amazing!

Taxonomic tidbits: The genus name Ferrocactus is from the Latin 'ferox' which means ferocious. Overall, Ferocactus species taxonomy is confounded and fluid due to variable phenology.