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PlantFiles: Many-headed Barrel, Biznaga de Chilitos, Harem Cactus, Cotton Top Cactus, Woolly-headed Barrel Cactu
Echinocactus polycephalus

Family: Cactaceae (kak-TAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Echinocactus (ek-in-oh-KAK-tus) (Info)
Species: polycephalus (pol-ee-SEF-a-lus) (Info)

Synonym:Emorycactus polycephalus
Synonym:Echinocactus polycephalus subsp. polycephalus

4 members have or want this plant for trade.

Cactus and Succulents

12-18 in. (30-45 cm)
18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

18-24 in. (45-60 cm)
24-36 in. (60-90 cm)
36-48 in. (90-120 cm)

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
Sun to Partial Shade
Light Shade

All parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:
Pale Yellow
Bright Yellow

Bloom Time:
Mid Spring
Late Spring/Early Summer


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:
By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)
From woody stem cuttings
From softwood cuttings
Allow cut surface to callous over before planting
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

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By Xenomorf
Thumbnail #1 of Echinocactus polycephalus by Xenomorf

By Xenomorf
Thumbnail #2 of Echinocactus polycephalus by Xenomorf

By palmbob
Thumbnail #3 of Echinocactus polycephalus by palmbob

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By CactusJordi
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By CactusJordi
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By CactusJordi
Thumbnail #7 of Echinocactus polycephalus by CactusJordi

There are a total of 16 photos.
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No positives
1 neutral
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Neutral Xenomorf On Nov 11, 2004, Xenomorf from Valley of the Sun, AZ (Zone 9b) wrote:

Although there are occasional occurances where a standard Ferocactus Barrel will grow multiple heads, this species almost always grows multiple heads.
The subspecies 'polycephalus' is the most widespread and common, growing in clumps of about 20-30 heads, and it's spines are covered with very fine hairs.
The subspecies 'xeranthemoides' usually only has up to about 12 heads, and usually dosen't have the fine hairs. It also grows at higher elevations than the 'polycephalus' subspecies.
All three can also be grown from seeds.

I've seen this growing in the wild on the 'El Camino Del Diablo Trail' (Devils' Highway) that runs between Ajo and Wellton in Arizona through the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge.


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

Ajo, Arizona
Phoenix, Arizona
Wellton, Arizona
Bostonia, California
Lucerne Valley, California

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