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Ferocactus robustus (Pfeiffer) Britton & Rose 1922

Clustering barrel cactus

KingdomPlantaePlants, but not fungi, lichens, or algae
SubkingdomTracheobiontaVascular plants—plants with a “circulatory system” for delivering water and nutrients
DivisionMagnoliophytaFlowering plants, also known as angiosperms
ClassMagnoliopsidaDicotyledons—plants with two initial seed leaves
SubclassCaryophyllidaeCacti, many other succulents, carnivorous plants, and leadworts
OrderCaryophyllalesIncludes cacti, carnations, amaranths, ice plants, and many carnivorous plants
FamilyCactaceaeSucculent (water-storing) plants, often spiny
GenusFerocactusFrom the Latin ferus, “fierce,” and cactus, referring to its heavy spines

About plant names...

Ferocactus robustus means “big robust ferocious cactus”—a reference to the sprawling colonies produced by this species. It is native to Peubla, Mexico.

Identification: Most members of Ferocactus are usually solitary plants, but this one has a profusion of stems, forming masses 3' (1 m) high and up to 16' (5 m) around. Stems are round or elongated ovals 3-6" (8-16 cm) in diameter, with 8 ribs, and spine groups that are further apart than with most of this genus. 4-7 large central spines include a single, hooked, largest spine up to 2" (6 cm) long, and several shorter, straight spines. Central spines are tinged with tan, red, or purple. Underneath are 10-14 smaller, whiter radial spines. Funnel-shaped yellow or yellow-orange flowers are 1-1½" (3-4 cm) in size. Yellow, ball- or oval-shaped fruits are ¾-1" (2-3 cm) in size.

Ferocactus robustus (clustering barrel cactus)

Lon Brehmer and a group of Ferocactus robustus; San Luis Temalacayuca, Puebla, Mexico. Copyright © 2006 Enriqueta Flores-Guevara & Lon Brehmer.


Anderson, Edward F., The Cactus Family, Timber Press, 2001, p. 334

Online References:

Ferocactus robustus on CactiGuide.com

Ferocactus robustus on Cactus Art: the World of Cacti & Succulents

Ferocactus robustus on PlantSystematics.org

Ferocactus robustus on BioLib.cz

Ferocactus robustus on Flickr

Echinocereus robustus Pfeiffer 1837


Ferocactus robustus description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 25 May 2020.

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Ferocactus robustus (clustering barrel cactus)

2/24/2010 · San Diego (Quail) Botanic Garden, Encinitas, Cali­fornia

Range: Zones 9b-11:

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