Ferocactus wislizeni (Arizona Barrel Cactus)

Scientific Name

Ferocactus wislizeni (Engelm.) Britton & Rose

Common Names

Fishhook Barrel Cactus, Fishhook Cactus, Arizona Barrel Cactus, Candy Barrel Cactus, Southwestern Barrel Cactus, Compass Barrel


Echinocactus wislizeni

Scientific Classification

Family: Cactaceae
Subfamily: Cactoideae
Tribe: Cacteae
Genus: Ferocactus


Color: Yellow to red-orange
Bloom Time: Summer


Ferocactus wislizeni is a barrel-shaped or columnar cactus with a stem that grows up to 6.5 feet (2 m) tall and up to 30 inches (80 cm) in diameter. The spines are thick and hooked. It has a leathery asparagus green skin with approximately 15 to 28 ribs. Its flowers are yellow to red-orange with reddish midribs and brown tips. They are up to 3 inches (7.5 cm) long and appear during the summer months. Fruits are green when unripe, yellow after the flower dries up, and persist atop the cactus long after the flower is gone, sometimes for more than a year.

Ferocactus wislizeni - Arizona Barrel Cactus
Photo via cactofili.org


USDA hardiness zone 9a to 12b: from 20 °F (−6.7 °C) to 60 °F (15.6 °C).

How to Grow and Care

Choose a planting location that receives direct sun during all or most of the day. Water the cactus at the time of planting to anchor it into the soil.

Plant your Barrel Cactus in early spring before new roots begin to form in late June and early July. The roots may appear dry, but that is typical before new growth begins. Dig a hole deep enough for the plant's roots and amend it as needed to provide fast-draining soil. A good soil mixture includes 10 percent native soil, 45 percent washed sand or pumice, and 45 percent compost. Ferocactus thrives in poor and arid soil.

Water the cactus at the time of planting to anchor it into the soil. Water again only if the weather in your area is unseasonably dry and if normal spring or winter rainfall doesn't occur. See more at How to Grow and Care for Ferocactus.


Native to the southwestern United States and northwestern Mexico.


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