Golden Barrel Cactus


Echinocactus grusonii (Golden Barrel Cactus)

Echinocactus grusonii (Golden Barrel Cactus) is a cactus with a slow-growing, usually solitary, globe-shaped stem that became barrel…

Plants→Echinocactus→Golden Barrel Cactus (Echinocactus grusonii)

Common names:
(6) Golden Barrel Cactus
(3) Golden Ball
(3) Uitsnauatl
(3) Asiento de Suegra
Barril Dorado

General Plant Information (Edit)
Plant Habit: Cactus/Succulent
Life cycle: Perennial
Sun Requirements: Full Sun
Water Preferences: Mesic
Dry Mesic
Soil pH Preferences: Moderately acid (5.6 – 6.0)
Slightly acid (6.1 – 6.5)
Neutral (6.6 – 7.3)
Minimum cold hardiness: Zone 9a -6.7 °C (20 °F) to -3.9 °C (25 °F)
Plant Height : 2 to 4 feet
Plant Spread : 2 to 3 feet
Fruit: Other: Woolly
Flowers: Showy
Flower Color: Yellow
Bloom Size: 2"-3"
Flower Time: Summer
Underground structures: Taproot
Suitable Locations: Xeriscapic
Uses: Will Naturalize
Resistances: Drought tolerant
Containers: Suitable in 3 gallon or larger
Needs excellent drainage in pots
Miscellaneous: Tolerates poor soil
With thorns/spines/prickles/teeth
Awards and Recognitions: RHS AGM
Conservation status: Endangered (EN)

Common and durable golden-spined barrel cactus to 2-3 feet in diameter. Known as the asiento de suegra (mother-in-law's seat) in Mexico. Very spiny, with a wooly crown when mature. Yellow flowers and wooly fruit appear within that crown. 21-37 ribs, 3-4 central spines.

Propagated from seed. Fast growing for a barrel cactus. Tolerates extreme heat and extreme exposure. Provide good drainage and strong light in cultivation. Expect maybe 20 years to sexual maturity.

Extremely multiheaded versions of this plant are typically created by ablating the growth center and forcing branches, though there is normally some degree of occasional branching. The site of injury is completely hidden after a few years of growth. A white spined version (silver barrel?) exists, but the spines turn brown pretty fast, so it's not particularly silvery when mature.

The golden barrel is nearly extinct in habitat due to the construction of the Zimapán dam in Hidalgo, but one of the most common cacti in cultivation. A second population far to the west of this area (in southwestern Zacatecas) was recently discovered.

The genetics of this plant place it outside Echinocactus as it has historically been understood, and closer to Ferocactus. A new monotypic genus, Kroenleinia, was proposed for this plant in 2014, but it has not been widely accepted because other related genera have not been fully evaluated.

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