Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: 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

3 members have or want this plant for trade.

Cactus and Succulents

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:
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

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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There are a total of 28 photos.
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4 positives
No neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive pachyden 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 future once again splits F. pilosus into its various subsumed units.

My experience with these seeds has been excellent. I would estimate I have probably attained close to 100% germination. Seedlings grow rapidly, and look very healthy. I now posess perhaps 50 seedlings of this species, which tells me is "unusual in collections".

I am willing to trade these seedlings for other species which are "rare" or "unusual in collections". As these germinated during spring, 2013, you might not want to take a seedling into your care until spring 2014. Keep me in mind, if you have "unusual in collections" species that I do not have, and wish to obtain this unusual species.

Positive Xenomorf 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.

Positive albleroy 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.

Positive palmbob 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).


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

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