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FEROCACTUS emoryi

Image of Ferocactus emoryi

Mark A. Miller

Family

Cactaceae

Botanical Name

FEROCACTUS emoryi

Plant Common Name

Colville's Barrel Cactus, Emory's Barrel Cactus

Special Notice

This entry has yet to be reviewed and approved by L2G editors.

General Description

Known as Colville's or Emory's barrel cactus, this spined, succulent evergreen perennial occurs on gravelly or sandy soil in Sonoran Desert scrublands: across southwestern Arizona and the northern Mexican state of Sonora. It slowly develops into a rounded or cylindrical "barrel" with numerous ribs lined with clusters of fearsome spines. Mature plants typically reach thigh height, but up to shoulder height isn't out of the question over many decades. The long, stiff spines are usually a shade of gray, red or brown. As plants age, the spines in the clusters on each areole aren't as curved. Older plants produce a circle of showy, cupped, yellow blooms (subspecies emoryi) at their tops in summer to early fall. Some plants may display deep crimson-red flowers (subspecies colvillei). In the wild, an intermediate hybrid between the yellow and red flowering subspecies exists, producing golden orange blossoms. All types yield bright yellow fruits develop after pollination. Fruits may be fleshy or leathery after they dry, with seeds inside.

This sun-loving cactus does best in well-drained soil. It is equally happy in the ground or in a pot. Give it occasional water in summer, and dry conditions in winter. An irrigation system is not a requirement in the landscape, however. Emory's cactus is valued as an accent plant in a xeriscape rock garden or water-conservation landscape in regions that lack winter freezes. Aid species conservation by avoiding wild-collected plants.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 9

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    10 - 15

  • Sunset Zone

    12, 13, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Cactus or Succulent

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun

  • Height

    2'-3' / 0.6m - 0.9m

  • Width

    1'-2' / 0.3m - 0.6m

  • Bloom Time

    Summer, Late Summer, Early Fall

  • Native To

    United States, Southwestern United States, Mexico

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral, Alkaline

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Tolerances

    Drought

  • Growth Rate

    Slow

  • Water Requirements

    Xeric/Desert, Drought Tolerant

  • Habit

    Oval/Rounded

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    Yellow, Red, Orange

  • Fruit Color

    Yellow, Lemon Yellow

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    Yes

  • Edible Fruit

    Yes

  • Showy Foliage

    No

  • Evergreen

    Yes

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Container, Houseplant, Rock Garden / Wall

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    Yes

  • Invasive

    No

  • Self-Sowing

    No