Ferocactus wislizeni (Engelmann) Britton & Rose 1922
Ferocactus wislizeni Engelmann 1848
Fishhook Barrel Cactus, Fishhook Barrel, Arizona Barrel Cactus, Biznaga de Agua, Candy Barrel Cactus, Viznaga Hembra, Compass Barrel Cactus
The Arizona barrel cactus is native to southwestern North America. Adult plants often lean toward the south, perhaps because strong southern sun inhibits growth on that side, hence the name “compass barrel cactus.” Sometimes the lopsided columns tip over in the mud following a sudden rain.
Identification: Round or column-shaped, plants are usually single, 3-9½' (1-3 m) high and 31" (80 cm) around, with 20-30 ribs. Stems are asparagus-colored. There are two types of spines. Central spines, the largest and most prominent, may be red, white, or gray. They are round or flattened in cross-section, occurring in groups of 4-7. One spine is largest, often shaped like a hook, and 3-4" (8-10 cm) long; smaller spines are straight. Underneath the central spines are radial spines, which are white, much thinner (almost hairlike), and more flush against the stem. Funnel-shaped flowers are 1½-1¾" (4-5 cm) in size, usually orange but grading into red and yellow, blooming from July to September. Oval shaped fruits up to 1¾" (5 cm) are yellow.
Edibility: Ripe fruits are edible, “tart and lemony,” with firm texture. Indigenous Americans also processed the pulp into a cabbage-like food.
Ferocactus wislizeni at Southeastern Arizona Wildflowers and the Plants of the Sonoran Desert
Ferocactus wislizeni at the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum Sonoran Desert Digital Library
Ferocactus wislizeni at the Vanderbilt University Bioimages web site
Ferocactus wislizeni on eFloras
Ferocactus wislizeni on Wikipedia
Ferocactus wislizeni description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 16 Aug 2013.