fire barrel cactus Cactaceae Ferocactus
gracillis H.E.Gates symbol: --
Leaf: Reduced to spines, with clear differences between central and radial spines; radial spines white, in clusters of 8-12, to 1 inch; central spines red, in clusters of 7-13, to 2 1/2 inches, displayed in dense vertical rows along the bark ridges, areoles 1 1/2 inches apart.
Flower: Attractive, bright red, 1 ½ inches across, near the tip of the cactus, blooming late spring to early summer.
Fruit: A cylindrical to oval berry, 1, yellow, dry relative to other cacti, resembling a pineapple.
Bark: A green, leathery thick skin with 16-24 prominent vertical ridges.
Form: One unbranched stout globular to cylindrical stem up to 5 (9) feet tall and 3 feet wide, but more commonly to 6 feet and 2 feet wide.
Looks like: barrel cactus
Additional Range Information: Ferocactus gracillis is native to North America. Range may be expanded by planting. See the full-size PDF map.
All material © 2019 Virginia Tech Dept. of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation; Photos and text by: John Seiler, Edward Jensen, Alex Niemiera, and John Peterson; Silvics reprinted from Ag Handbook 654; range map source information