Pronounciation: Fare-o-CAC-tus wi-sil-zen-EE-i
USDA 9-11 (arid zones only)
Landscape Use: Accent cacti for xeric landscapes, desert gardens, containers.
Form & Character: These are stout, slowly developing columnar cacti that like other Ferocactus species evoke feelings of solitary and loneliness.
Growth Habit: Stout, short, slow growing and long-lived columnar cactus eventually to 10 feet by 1.5 feet wide, will seldom branch at the base. The fluted ribs of both species tend to revolve about elongating stem trunk that leans to the south over time.
Foliage/Texture: Arizona barrel cactus has stiff reddish to gray curved spines, often hooked at the spine terminus, are found growing on the ridges in clusters at each aerole; VERY coarse texture.
Flowers & Fruits: Arizona barrel cacti have ringed clusters of small cup-shaped flowers at the terminal meristem in shades of red to orange to yellow, flower sepals are red. Flowering is followed by development of yellow, oval-shaped, scaly fruit, generally fleshy and indehiscent 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.
Light: Full sun
Soil: In urban landscape soils with limited topography (slope), compass barrel cacti require a well-drained soil.
Disease and pests: Root rot in poorly drained soils.
Additional comments: Arizona barrel cacti are easily transplanted and are nice solitary cacti for rock gardens and desert landscape themes. Arizona barrel cacti without revolving ridges about their barrel tend to grow faster on their shady side which cause then to lean in a southerly (south to southwest) direction, hence the other common name "compass cactus". This tendency can be affected by
a plant's juxaposition in the urban landscape to other elements like buildings and trees
that affect the amount and direction of direct sun exposure.
The genus name Ferrocactus is from the Latin 'ferox' which means ferocious.
Ferocactus species taxonomy is confused due to variable phenology.
The genus name Ferrocactus is from the Latin 'ferox' which means ferocious. Ferocactus species taxonomy is confused due to variable phenology.