Ferocactus gracilis (Fire Barrel Cactus) [synonym Ferocactus viscainensis]

Native to southwestern North America and Mexico, the Fire Barrel Cactus is of ‘Least Concern’ status according to IUCN. It has unusually bright scarlet/red spines.

Ferocactus gracilis (Fire Barrel Cactus) [synonym Ferocactus viscainensis for subsp. coloratus]
Deciduous: no
Hardiness Zones: 9b-11 (survives to 10 degrees Celsius (50 degrees Fahrenheit))
Height: rarely to 2.4 meters (8 feet) (usually to 1.2 meters (4 feet)) tall
Diameter: central stem to 30 centimeters (12 inches) in diameter
Growth Rate: slow
Age: Long-lived perennial, some of this genus do not begin branching until 20 years old.
Root System: extensive, shallow
Family: Cactaceae
Subspecies: subsp. gracilis, subsp. gatesii, subsp. coloratus
Tolerates: drought
Problems (major): Basal rot, Fungal wilt, Yellow fungus, Fire blight, Bacterial wilt, Cactus beetles
Problems (minor): Wooly scheild louse, Jackrabbits, Packrats, Javelina
Poisonous: likely contains toxic alkaloids, oxalic acid
Soil requirements: requires well-drained, light/sandy soil
Air requirements: not sufficiently researched
Watering requirement: low
Sun requirement: requires full sun
Primary photosynthetic organ: stem
Leaf structure: sharp spines, bright scarlet red, emerge from areole (leaf base on cacti), clusters of 7-13 (most radial, 2-4 longer central spines), to 5 centimeters (2 inches) long
Stem: strictly columnar, singular, to 24 ribs
Flowering structure: golden/bright yellow or vivid, bright orange; center bright yellow
Reproduction by offsets: no, unable to regenerate once shoot apical meristem cut
Monocot or dicot: dicot
Notable characteristics:
The spines are a bright, vivid red (especially when wet). This cacti, unlike others, will die if the top is cut since it cannot branch out.

Uses:
These may be grown for ornamental purposes in select zones. Fire Barrel Cactus may be grown indoors next to a bright window when young.
Sources used:

Ferocactus_gracilis
A young specimen at the Missouri Botanical Gardens

All of the images provided were taken by me. They may be used for educational/informational purposes only, provided that this article/online journal is appropriately cited first.

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