Ferocactus hamatacanthus (Muehlenpf.) Britton & Rose
Mexican Fruit Cactus, Texas Barrel Cactus, Turk's-head Barrel Cactus
Ferocactus hamatacanthus subsp. hamatacanthus, Ferocactus hamatacanthus var. hamatacanthus, Brittonia davisii, Echinocactus gerardii, Echinocactus haematochroanthus, Echinocactus hamatacanthus, Echinocactus longihamatus, Echinocactus uncinatus, Hamatocactus hamatacanthus
Ferocactus hamatacanthus is a cactus that forms globular to oblong stems with usually 13 ribs or sometimes around 17. The stems grow up to 2 feet (60 cm) and 1 foot (30 cm) in diameter. The ribs are strongly tubercled and are up to 1.2 inches (3 cm) tall. The areoles are large and up to 1.2 inches (3 cm) apart. There are about 12 up to 2.8 inches (7 cm) long radial spines and only 4 up to 6 inches (15 cm) long central spines per areole. One of the central spines is hooked. Flowers are yellow with an inner scarlet color in some forms and up to 3.2 inches (8 cm) in diameter. Fruits are fleshy, edible, dark brown to drab color, oblong, and up to 2 inches (5 cm) long.
USDA hardiness zone 6a to 11b: from −10 °F (−23.3 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).
How to Grow and Care
Choose a planting location that receives direct sun during all or most of the day. Because Ferocactus eventually leans into the sun instead of growing precisely upright and because it has extremely sharp thorns, place it where people will not brush into it accidentally.
Plant your cactus in early spring before new roots begin to form in late June and early July. The roots may appear dry, but that is typical before new growth begins. Dig a hole deep enough for the plant's roots and amend it as needed to provide fast-draining soil. A good soil mixture includes 10 percent native soil, 45 percent washed sand or pumice, and 45 percent compost. Ferocactus thrives in poor and arid soil.
Water the cactus at the time of planting to anchor it into the soil. Water again only if the weather in your area is unseasonably dry and if normal spring or winter rainfall doesn't occur.
See more at How to Grow and Care for Ferocactus.
This species is widespread in the Chihuahuan Desert of Northwestern Mexico, New Mexico, and Southwestern Texas.
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