Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Golden Barrel Cactus

Golden Barrel Cactus (Echinocactus grusonii), Tohono Chul Park, Tucson

The Golden Barrel Cactus is native to the southwestern United States and Mexico. This cactus grows very slowly; at full size it will be 2 to 4 feet in height and up to 2.5 feet wide. It is evergreen. The trunk is a single ribbed column, with golden yellow spines growing along each rib. It blooms in summer; the bright yellow flowers are 1-2 inches wide.

The Golden Barrel Cactus is considered a rare and endangered plant in the wild. According to the U.S. Botanic Garden:
In 1990, populations of Echinocactus grusonii were the focus of an intensive rescue effort in the Rio Moctezuma Valley in Mexico. This valley, the primary habitat of the golden barrel cactus, was scheduled to be flooded after the construction of a major dam. A Mexican botanical garden hurried to remove these and other rare plants prior to the dam’s construction. Though few Echinocactus grusonii remain in the wild today, their off-site conservation has allowed for widespread propagation by nurseries and botanical gardens, and the golden barrel cactus is now one of the most popular cacti in cultivation.


Jimmy said...

I just learned something new....very good...thank you.

Endment said...

WOW look at those thorns!!!
What beautiful color!

robin andrea said...

What a shame that this beautiful cactus is considered endangered. We have one here at our house. It is a beauty. I feel bad for it though. It belongs in the desert, growing wild in the sun.

I am using my new name. I've retired the name Rexroth's Daughter for now.

Pam in Tucson said...

jimmy - you're welcome. I'm happy to introduce you to such a beautiful plant.

endment - I love the golden barrels. I hope to get back to photograph them when they're in bloom.

robinandrea - luckily nurseries are propagating these cacti. Interestingly, the ones I photographed are in shade, under large trees. I'm sure yours is happy.

Anil P said...

That's a super pattern. Nice picture.

TDharma said...

every photo is just more beautiful than the last! This cactus pic is fantastic! WOwie!