Scientific: Ferocactus emoryi (syn. Ferocactus covillei)
Common: Emory's barrel cactus
Family: Cactaceae
Origin: Rocky and gravely soils at elevations below 4,000 feet in Arizona and northwestern Mexico (Sonora, Sinaloa and Baja California Sur)

Pronounciation: Fare-o-CAC-tus EM-or-i

Hardiness zones
USDA 9-11 (arid zones only)

Landscape Use: Accent, smallish barrel cactus for xeric landscapes, desert gardens, and containers.

Form & Character: Small and rounded, dry desert, variable.

Growth Habit: Stout, short, small barrel cactus, very slow growing to 4 feet with a 40 inch width, variable mature size, pleated with 15 to 30 ribs.

Foliage/Texture: Ribs contain 7 to 12 spines per aeorle, spines 2 to 4 inches long, white to red, dominant spine is hooked; coarse texture.

Flowers & Fruits: Ringed clusters of funnel shapes flowers, yellow to red; fruits are ovoidal to about 2 inches long, yellow when ripe.

Seasonal Color: Flowers provide a subtle visual accent during the early summer heat of May.

Temperature: Tolerant

Light: Full sun

Soil: Well-drained soil

Watering: None

Pruning: None

Propagation: Seed

Disease and pests: Root rot in poorly drained soils.

Additional comments: Emory's barrel cactus is a beautiful, small and very low maintenance barrel cactus for desert rock gardens and other xeric managed landscapes in the lower Sonoran Desert. All barrel cacti are easily transplanted and are nice solitary or grouped cacti for rock gardens and desert landscape themes.

Emory's barrel cactus from the south part of its native range are much taller and larger than Emory's barrel cactus form the north extent of the native range. There are two recognized varietal selections:

  • Ferocactus emoryi var. emoryi
  • Ferocactus emoryi var. rectispinus