Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Mexican Fruit Cactus, Texas Barrel, Turk's Head Barrel, Biznaga de Tuna
Ferocactus hamatacanthus

Family: Cactaceae (kak-TAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Ferocactus (fer-oh-KAK-tus) (Info)
Species: hamatacanthus (ham-at-uh-KAN-thus) (Info)

Synonym:Ferocactus hamatacanthus subsp. hamatacanthus
Synonym:Bisnaga hamatacanthus
Synonym:Echinocactus hamatacanthus
Synonym:Echinocactus longihamatus
Synonym:Ferocactus hamatacanthus var. crassispinus

One member has or wants this plant for trade.

Cactus and Succulents

18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

18-24 in. (45-60 cm)
24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun

Plant has spines or sharp edges; use extreme caution when handling

Bloom Color:
Bright Yellow

Bloom Time:
Mid Summer
Late Summer/Early Fall

Unknown - Tell us

Other details:
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping
Suitable for growing in containers

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From seed; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:
Allow unblemished fruit to ripen; clean and dry seeds
Unblemished fruit must be significantly overripe before harvesting seed; clean and dry seeds
Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored

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3 positives
1 neutral
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive cactusman8 On Jul 22, 2013, cactusman8 from San Marcos, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

The flowers, which appear in July here, are very nicely fragrant.

Positive DMersh On Feb 1, 2009, DMersh from Perth
United Kingdom (Zone 7b) wrote:

Be careful not to overwater this species as my plant once suffered a couple of splits in its skin after too much water, it recovered though.
Seems to be quite a tough Ferocactus, I keep it under dry shelter in winter with no heating (in UK) and its thrived, taking frosts to about -8C. Quite a slow grower.

Positive AarronIkarus On Sep 12, 2008, AarronIkarus from Onalaska, WA (Zone 8b) wrote:

This plant is a native of the Northern Mexico/Southwestern United States region.

Neutral Xenomorf On Apr 16, 2005, Xenomorf from Valley of the Sun, AZ (Zone 9b) wrote:

The buds, which are called cabuches, are harvested for food.
The 'hamatacanthus' subspecies will grow to a height of 2 feet. It has compressed and rounded ribs with noticeable tubercles. It has 4-8 central spines and blooms yellow with red throated flowers.
The 'sinuatus' subspecies only grows to 1 foot high. It has acute & compressed ribs, only 4 central spines. The flowers are totally yellow with no red.

Another valid synonym is Hamatocactus hamatacanthus.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Corona, California
Hesperia, California
Blue Diamond, Nevada
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Kermit, Texas
Portland, Texas
San Marcos, Texas

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