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FEROCACTUS rectispinus

Image of Ferocactus rectispinus

James H. Schutte



Botanical Name

FEROCACTUS rectispinus

Plant Common Name

Long-spined Barrel Cactus, Straight Spine Barrel

Special Notice

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

General Description

One of the showiest barrel cacti, this species long and colorful spines are wickedly intimidating but beautiful. The long-spined barrel cactus is a slow-growing, succulent evergreen perennial that's native to the coastal cliffs in Mexico's Baja California. When young, it is globe-shaped, but will become a stout cylinder after many decades (as tall as an adult man). Some botanists regard it as a subspecies of Emory's barrel cactus (Ferocactus emoryi).

This cactus has 15 to 21 vertical ribs. On the ridge of each rib are sparse, rounded clusters of long, light yellow to pink spines. Each cluster has one spine that is much longer, measuring from 3 to 10 inches (9 to 25 cm) in length. When they first emerge, they are deep red-pink and have noticeable rings. These weapons mature beige-white to light pink. Older plants produce a circle of showy, cup-shaped, golden light yellow to orange flowers in summer. After insect pollination, oblong bright yellow fruits develop. Fruits may be fleshy or leathery after they dry, with black seeds inside.

This sun-loving cactus must have a porous, well-drained soil. It is equally happy in the ground or in a pot. Give it occasional water in summer for best growth and spine development, and dry conditions from fall to spring. Do not let water rest on the plant when in direct sun, as it causes scalding wounds and a place for rot and fungal infections to start. An irrigation system is not a requirement in the landscape, however. Long-spined barrel cactus is valued as a vertical specimen accent plant in a xeriscape rock garden or water-conservation landscape in regions that experience nothing colder than an occasional light winter frost. Aid species conservation by avoiding wild-collected plants.


  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 10

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    10 - 15

  • Sunset Zone

    13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Cactus or Succulent

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun

  • Height

    1'-7' / 0.3m - 2.1m

  • Width

    1'-2' / 0.3m - 0.6m

  • Bloom Time


  • Native To


Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral, Alkaline

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Tolerances


  • Growth Rate


  • Water Requirements

    Xeric/Desert, Drought Tolerant

  • Habit


  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest


  • Flower Color

    Yellow, Light Yellow, Gold

  • Fruit Color

    Yellow, Lemon Yellow

  • Fragrant Flowers


  • Fragrant Fruit


  • Fragrant Foliage


  • Bark or Stem Fragrant


  • Flower Petal Number


  • Repeat Bloomer


  • Showy Fruit


  • Edible Fruit


  • Showy Foliage


  • Evergreen


  • Showy Bark


Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Container, Feature Plant, Houseplant, Rock Garden / Wall

  • Sharp or Has Thorns


  • Invasive


  • Self-Sowing