Ferocactus Species, Devil's Tongue Barrel, Crow's Claw Cactus, Fish Hook Cactus

Ferocactus latispinus

Family: Cactaceae (kak-TAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Ferocactus (fer-oh-KAK-tus) (Info)
Species: latispinus (la-TYE-spin-uss) (Info)
Synonym:Ferocactus latispinus subsp. latispinus
Synonym:Ferocactus nobilis
Synonym:Ferocactus latispinus var. greenwoodii
Synonym:Ferocactus recurvus
Synonym:Bisnaga recurva subsp. latispina
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Cactus and Succulents

Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun



Foliage Color:



18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

24-36 in. (60-90 cm)


24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

36-48 in. (90-120 cm)


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)

Where to Grow:

Grow outdoors year-round in hardiness zone

Suitable for growing in containers


Plant has spines or sharp edges; use extreme caution when handling

Bloom Color:

Medium Purple


Bloom Characteristics:

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Late Summer/Early Fall

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

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 is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Benson, Arizona

Chandler, Arizona

Mesa, Arizona

Peoria, Arizona

Phoenix, Arizona

Queen Creek, Arizona

Scottsdale, Arizona

Tucson, Arizona(2 reports)

August, California

Davis, California

El Macero, California

Garden Grove, California

Hayward, California

Hesperia, California

Oceanside, California

San Diego, California

Sherman Oaks, California

Las Vegas, Nevada

Grenoble, Rhône-Alpes

Austin, Texas

Marble Falls, Texas

Midland, Texas

San Antonio, Texas

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Gardeners' Notes:


On Apr 18, 2015, Mark_B from Garden Grove, CA wrote:

Can tolerate winters down into the 30's (Fahrenheit), but keep the soil dry.


On Sep 1, 2014, Cereuspete from Tucson, AZ wrote:

Have been cultivating this species for close to thirty years, and throughout that time, it has become one of my favorites. I first encountered it as a potted, indoor / outdoor specimen plant when I resided in Maryland. Upon moving to Benson, AZ (at an elevation of 4,000') I planted several, all of which survived even the coldest of winters.

Today, at my current home in Tucson, AZ, I have several clusters of this species in both purple and white flowering variations. Good drainage is a must, especially if our "winter" turns "rainy" and "cold." The bold spines create a striking appearance against the rather brilliant green of the plant's flesh. I highly recommend it for beginners and experienced cactophiles alike.


On Oct 11, 2011, sherizona from Peoria, AZ (Zone 9b) wrote:

This is a great cactus, but the older it gets the less attractive it looks. In other words, unlike many other types of cactus this one doesn't age all that well. Young ones tend to produce the best blooms, at least they do out here in the desert.


On Oct 14, 2005, cactus_lover from FSD,
Pakistan (Zone 10b) wrote:

This Ferocactus is quite likely to flower,but usually only if the weather is warm and sunny.


On Apr 19, 2005, Xenomorf from Phoenix, AZ (Zone 9b) wrote:

As of 2001 the 'latispinus variety' has now become the 'latispinus subspecies'.
The 'latispinus' subspecies has 9-15 radial spines that range from thin & white to dark and stout, and is most prevalent.
The 'spiralis' subspecies has 5-7 stout radial spines.

Other valid synonyms are:
Cactus latispinus
Cactus recurvus
Cactus nobilis
Echinocactus nobilis
Echinocactus cornigerus
Echinocactus corniger
Echinocactus recurvus
Echinocactus recurvus var. latispinus
Ferocactus cylindraceus var. greenwoodiae
Bisnaga cornigera
Bisnaga recurva
Melocactus latispinus
Mammillaria latispina


On Feb 25, 2004, palmbob from Acton, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:

Great looking color on this plant when young- gets a bit duller as it ages. Flowers can sometimes be a deep purple to dark magenta and quite striking. Thick thick spines on this one, that hook around and graph you if you get too close. From Mexico


On Jun 15, 2001, Amari from Austin, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

With age, the red or straw spines of this slow-growing, ball-shaped or flat-topped, globular plant become broad and hooked and lie flat against the body. Cream to purple flowers appear in spring or autumn.