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Ferocactus wislizeni (Arizona Barrel Cactus)


Scientific Name

Ferocactus wislizeni (Engelm.) Britton & Rose

Common Names

Fishhook Barrel Cactus, Fishhook Cactus, Arizona Barrel Cactus, Candy Barrel Cactus, Southwestern Barrel Cactus, Compass Barrel


Echinocactus wislizeni

Scientific Classification

Family: Cactaceae
Subfamily: Cactoideae
Tribe: Cacteae
Genus: Ferocactus


Ferocactus wislizeni is a cactus with a globular to cylindrical stem that grows up to 6.5 feet (2 m) tall and up to 30 inches (80 cm) in diameter. It has a leathery asparagus green skin with 15 to 28 ribs. Spines are thick and hooked. Flowers are yellow to red-orange with reddish midribs and brown tips, up to 3 inches (7.5 cm) long, and appear atop the fruits during the summer months. The fruits are green when unripe, yellow after the flower dries up, and persist atop the cactus long after the flower is gone, sometimes for more than a year.

Ferocactus wislizeni - Arizona Barrel Cactus Fishhook Barrel Cactus

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USDA hardiness zones 9a to 11b: from 20 °F (−6.7 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).

How to Grow and Care

Choose a location that receives direct sun during all or most of the day. Plant your Barrel Cactus in early spring before new roots begin to form. 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.

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 typical spring or winter rainfall doesn't occur. Ferocactus needs a dormant period with dry soil during the winter.

Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Ferocactus.


Native to the southwestern United States and northwestern Mexico.


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