AZ Arboretums

Ferocactus acanthodes

Desert barrel cactus

Common: Desert barrel cactus, Compass barrel cactus
Family: Cactaceae
Origin: Southern California, Nevada, Baja California, Mexico
Sunset Zone: 8-24
Temperature: Down to 10-20 F
Light: Full or reflected sun to partial shade
Soil: Most soils, well drained. A sandy or gravel soil with free drainage is most suitable.
Water: Drought tolerant. There is seldom or never any need to water.

Used to create desert landscape; grown in pots or rock gardens, but not too near walkways. Globular when young, cylindrical with increasing age.

Grows slowly to 3 to10 feet. Ribbed and spiny. Dense spines yellowish to red. Yellow to orange bell-shaped flowers; fruits like greenish-yellow pineapples follow.

Propogation by seen. No diseases or pests. Protected in the wild. Illegal to obtain without a tag. There is no truth to the myth that this cactus, once decapitated, will produce a barrel of water for the desert wanderer dying of thirst.