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Thelocactus setispinus (Miniature Barrel Cactus)


Scientific Name

Echinocactus platyacanthus Link & Otto

Common Names

Miniature Barrel Cactus, Hedgehog Cactus, Twisted Rib Cactus, Fishhook Cactus


Echinocactus setispinus (basionym), Cactus bicolor, Echinocactus hamatus, Ferocactus setispinus, Hamatocactus bicolor, Hamatocactus setispinus

Scientific Classification

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


Thelocactus setispinus is a cactus, up to 12 inches (30 cm) tall and up to 4 inches (10 cm) in diameter, with a globe-shaped to the short cylindrical stem. It has 12 to 15 ribs, 9 to 17 radial spines, and 1 to 3 central spines. Radial spines are needle-shaped, bright brown or white, and up to 1 inch (2.5 cm) long. Central spines are longer and stronger, straight and curved like a hook at the tip. Flowers are yellow with a red center, up to 2.8 inches (7 cm) long, and up to 1.6 inches (4 cm) in diameter. They appear in late summer to fall. Fruits are red, round, or elliptical and up to 0.6 inches (1.5 cm) in diameter.

Thelocactus setispinus (Miniature 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

Overall, these are beautiful cacti for dish gardens or indoor display. A collection of them is especially attractive, as they look like a collection of balls tossed upon the ground. It is critical, however, to never let these cacti be exposed to prolonged periods in water or even very high humidity. They will suffer from rot in the presence of humidity. Echinocactus are vulnerable to pests, including aphids, mealybugs, scale, and whitefly. If possible, identify the infestation as early as possible and treat with the leave toxic option.

It is best to repot at the beginning of the growing season, or summer. To repot a cactus, make sure the soil is dry before repotting, then gently remove the pot. Knock away the old soil from the roots, making sure to remove any rotted or dead roots in the process.

Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Echinocactus.


Thelocactus setispinus is native to United States (Texas) and Mexico (Coahuila, Nuevo León and Tamaulipas).


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