Mexican Fire Barrel, Mexican Lime Cactus, Viznaga de Lima

Ferocactus pilosus

Family: Cactaceae (kak-TAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Ferocactus (fer-oh-KAK-tus) (Info)
Species: pilosus (pil-OH-sus) (Info)
Synonym:Ferocactus pilosus var. pilosus
Synonym:Ferocactus pilosus var. stainesii
Synonym:Ferocactus piliferus
Synonym:Echinocactus piliferus
Synonym:Ferocactus stainesii


Cactus and Succulents

Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


6-12 in. (15-30 cm)

12-18 in. (30-45 cm)

18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

36-48 in. (90-120 cm)

4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)

6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)


24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

36-48 in. (90-120 cm)

4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)


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:

Unknown - Tell us



Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

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


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

Gilbert, Arizona

Green Valley, Arizona

Phoenix, Arizona

Queen Creek, Arizona

Scottsdale, Arizona

Glen Avon, California

Hesperia, California

Spring Valley, California

Thousand Oaks, California

Vista, California

Myakka City, Florida

Austin, Texas

Spring Branch, Texas

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On May 15, 2013, pachyden from Myakka City, FL wrote:

I recently purchased seeds from a CITES certified exporter based in Europe. These seeds are promoted as Ferocactus stainesii pilosus. Looking at an online guide to the identification of cacti, that I respect (, I find that Ferocactus stainesii is a synonym of Ferocactus pilosus.

I understand the way that taxonomy and taxonomic researchers work. In the past, there has been a species F. stainesii. This species has now been subsumed, probably along with other former species, under the species name F. pilosus. Therefore, I feel it is more appropriate at this time to call my species F. pilosus stainesii. This will make it much easier to identify when a new graduate student in the futur... read more


On Apr 19, 2005, Xenomorf from Valley of the Sun, AZ (Zone 9b) wrote:

Another synonym of this plant is Echinocactus pilosus

The 'pilosus' variety appears to have brighter red and bigger and thicker central spines compared to the 'pringlei' variety. They are currently only varieties and have not been promoted to the rank of subspecies.
The flowers are yellow to red.


On Aug 28, 2004, albleroy from Wavre/ greenhous +/- 2500 species, IA wrote:

This is one of the most impresive species in this genus. Easy to grow in collection, and certainly if you can keep them in free vegetation in your garden. After several (40/50) years plants can reach about 2 meter high.


On Mar 28, 2004, palmbob from Acton, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:

Great looking clumping barrel/column with thick red spines. Two supspecies, but they look the same to me. Some seem to be covered in fine white hairs, while others do not... a difference? CAn grow up to 8' tall in nature (Mexico).