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


Cactus and Succulents

Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Where to Grow:

Suitable for growing in containers


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:

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:

Corona, California

Hesperia, California

Blue Diamond, Nevada

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Redmond, Oregon

Kermit, Texas

Kingsbury, Texas

Portland, Texas

San Marcos, Texas

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


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

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


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.


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

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


On Apr 16, 2005, Xenomorf from Phoenix, 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.