Ferocactus wislizeni

The fishhook barrel cactus is recognized by its curved and hooked central spine and by its large, ribbed, barrel-shaped body. This slow-growing desert native will reach heights of two to five feet or more. In rare instances it can reach heights up to ten feet tall and has a width of up to thirty-three inches in diameter. Its life span has been reported up to 130 years old. This plant can produce twenty or more vertical ribs up its side with distinctive reddish to gray hooked spines that can be dangerous and sharp. It is commonly seen with only a single trunk and on rare occasions it may form a multiple trunk. The root system is shallow and confined to the upper soil levels. In late spring through early summer it produces an attractive red or yellow bloom that creates a circle at the top of the plant. Birds, javelina, mule deer, and other wildlife will feed on the fleshy, yellow fruit that is prevalent during the summer months. This cactus prefers full sun to partial shady conditions. When transplanting or moving it from the nursery, mark the south side of the plant and maintain this natural orientation to prevent sunburn. This cactus does not need additional irrigation and will grow well with natural rainfall. The cactus is hardy to ten degrees Fahrenheit. It is very easy to grow and can be propagated by seeds. Use this plant in desert gardens and in areas where there is limited water, since it is extremely drought-resistant. Plant in areas for re-vegetation or in cactus and succulent gardens. It makes a great accent plant for anyone who loves blooming cacti. This cactus tolerates most native soils with good drainage, requiring little attention or special care. The fishhook barrel cactus is tolerant of extreme heat as well as cold. This plant relies on annual rainfall, making it a good choice for low-water-use landscapes. Native Americans also used this barrel cactus pulp for making jelly and cactus candy. It is native to Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas and in the states of Chihuahua, Sinaloa, and Sonora, Mexico.

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