Ferocactus latispinus-Fish Hook Cactus, etc.


Ferocactus latispinus on 2-1-16.

Devil’s Tongue Barrel, Crow’s Claw, Fish Hook Cactus

Ferocactus latispinus

fer-oh-KAK-tus  la-TYE-spin-uss


Ferocactus recurvus

fer-oh-KAK-tus  re-KUR-vus

I bought this cactus from Wal-Mart on 2-1-16 along with several others. The label said, Ferocactus latispinus is a barrel cactus with a flattened globular shape. Flowers are violet or yellow, usually appearing in late October or November. Water thoroughly when soil is dry to the touch. Protect from frost. Provide bright light/sun. Hardy to 20 degrees F. To 12” tall.” It nearly filled the 2 1/2” pot (4 oz.) and measured approximately 1 1/2” tall x 2 1/4” wide.

Ferocactus latispinus (Haw.) Britton & Rose is the correct and accepted scientific name for this species of Ferocactus. The genus and species were named and described by Nathanial Lord Britton and Joseph Nelson Rose in Cactaceae in 1922. It was first named and described as Cactus latispinus by Adrian Hardy Haworth in Philosophical Magazine and Journal in 1824.

Plants of the World Online by Kw lists 30 accepted species in the genus Ferocactus, as of the last time this page was updated on 11/28/18. They also list 36 synonyms and 2 accepted subspecies.

There are other genera of cactus with this same shape, though, and can get quite confusing at times. They were once nicknamed “the Traveler’s Friend” because these living barrels were reservoirs for fresh drinking water in the hot deserts. Of course, it is not recommended that you tap into one of these for water because in reality the water is too alkaline and would worsen dehydration. SO, if you are ever in the desert, try drinking the water from the Prickly Pear (Opuntia species) instead. The Ferocactus are native to the Southwestern United States and much of Mexico.

One of the common names, Fish Hook Cactus, is also a name applied to cacti in other genera.

When I first bought this cactus on 2-1-16, along with, ummm, 13 others I think, I didn’t have a camera. SO, I had to use the Photo Booth on my iMac. I really liked this cactus but it didn’t last long that’s why there are no other photos… I have not found another since. I may have to find on online.

I hope you enjoyed this page and maybe found it useful. If you have any comments, questions or suggestions, I would like to hear from you. Please click on “like” if you visited this page. It helps us bloggers stay motivated. 🙂 You can check out the links below for further reading. The links take you directly to the genus and species of this plant.


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