The Ferocactus wislizenii, or Arizona Barrel, is one of the 30 species found within the genus. The Arizona Barrel has the most attractive flowers in my view, so I have several, along with four others from the genus. All the other Ferocactus species I have produce yellow flowers, so when the F. wislizenii blooms in late summer I’m quite happy.
Cacti in the Ferocactus genus are all barrels, but some can become cylindrical with age. They are found in the Southwest and northwestern Mexico. This genus must have maximum sun exposure and can survive for very long periods without water, making it completely carefree in a xeriscape desert garden.
Most folks are more familiar with the F. cylindraceus (Compass Barrel) because of its growth habit. It slants toward the south to get the most sun exposure, so the south side grows faster than the north side, giving the cactus a characteristic tilt. Some believe that it twists itself out of the ground doing this, but that’s untrue. It just makes a good story for tourists.