Scientific Name for Barrel Cactus: Ferocactus is the name of the species (meaning, fierce or wild cactus).
This cactus is found in the Sonoran Desert. They can grow to be 4 to 11 feet tall and can live for up to 100 years! They are greenish in color and bear spines. After these cacti mature, they bloom vibrant flowers with edible fruit between the months of July and September. The flowers are fiery orange, red, or yellow, therefore, once in bloom, this cactus will brighten up the landscape with vivid color. They survive well in the desert and have a great capacity to swell for water storage. One large barrel even survived six years after it was uprooted, living off its 24 pounds of stored water.
Since this cactus can handle the driest of climates it makes them perfect for an Arizona landscape. They are a great cactus to use in your landscape since they require little maintenance. They will compliment any desert landscape for your front or backyard.
There are three distinguished species of this type of cactus. The Saguaro Barrel Cactus (Ferocactus cylindraceus). The Big Barrel Cactus (Ferocactus emoryi). Lastly, the True Barrel Cactus (Ferocactus wislizeni). They are considered to be an ornamental plant, easy to grow and relatively fast growing. Sometimes they produce round offshoots. Their pineapple-shaped greenish fruit is edible but fairly dry and bitter to the taste.