Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Fire Barrel Cactus, Biznaga
Ferocactus gracilis

Family: Cactaceae (kak-TAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Ferocactus (fer-oh-KAK-tus) (Info)
Species: gracilis (GRASS-il-is) (Info)

Synonym:Ferocactus gracilis subsp. gracilis
Synonym:Ferocactus viscainensis
Synonym:Ferocactus peninsulae var. viscainensis
Synonym:Ferocactus peninsulae var. gracilis

One member has or wants this plant for trade.

Cactus and Succulents

4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)
6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)
8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)
10-12 ft. (3-3.6 m)

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

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


Other details:
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Soil pH requirements:
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From seed; germinate in vitro in gelatin, agar or other medium

Seed Collecting:
Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds

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There are a total of 9 photos.
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2 positives
2 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

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

The flowers are reported to be red only by some, and yellow with a red stripe or tinge by others.
The 'gracilis' subspecies usually grows higher than 3 feet. it's central spines are less than 5mm wide.
The 'coloratus' subspecies seldom grows to 3 feet high. It's widest central spines are often wider than 5 mm.
The 'gatesii' subspecies can grow to 5 feet high. It's central spines are only 3 mm wide and curved but not hooked

Positive Kachinagirl On Apr 29, 2004, Kachinagirl from Modesto, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:

Barrel cactus are easily grown from seed! I picked a seed pod, took it home and made sure the seeds were dry before planting. I planted the seeds in small pots using a commercial cactus mix and in no time I had over 100 baby cactus. I have been giving them to friends like crazy. If given regular water and grown in a sunny (hot) window they grow quickly!

Neutral rogerraines On Apr 28, 2004, rogerraines from Pahrump, NV wrote:

Its growing wild all over So. Nevada, even in areas that get as cold 15 F in the winter

Positive palmbob On Mar 8, 2004, palmbob from Acton, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:

Colorful barrel cactus native to Baja California. tolerates frost down to about 25F. Nice red, curved thick spines


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

Mesa, Arizona
Phoenix, Arizona
Scottsdale, Arizona
Hesperia, California
Menlo Park, California
Blue Diamond, Nevada
Pahrump, Nevada
Saint George, Utah

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