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Bruce D. Parfitt, except as noted

Perennial herb, shrub, tree, generally fleshy. Stem: cylindric to spheric, or flat; surface smooth, tubercled, or ribbed (grooved); nodal areoles bearing flowers. Leaf: generally 0 or early-deciduous, flat to ± cylindric. Spines: areoles generally with central, radial spines, occasionally with glochids. Flower: generally 1 per areole, bisexual [unisexual], sessile, radial [bilateral]; perianth parts generally many [5], scale-like to petal-like; stamens many; ovary inferior [superior], style 1, stigma lobes generally several [many]. Fruit: dry to fleshy or juicy, indehiscent to variously dehiscent, spiny, scaly, or naked; tubercled or smooth. Seed: generally many, occasionally 0–few.
± 125 genera, ± 1800 species: America (especially deserts), Africa; many cultivated, some edible. [Parfitt & Gibson 2004 FNANM 4:92–257] Spines smaller, fewer (0) in shade forms; yellow spines blacken in age. Introduced species increasingly escape cultivation. Hybridization common in some genera. Taxa of Escobaria in TJM (1993) moved to Coryphantha. —Scientific Editors: Bruce D. Parfitt, Douglas H. Goldman, Bruce G. Baldwin, Thomas J. Rosatti.
Unabridged references: [Hunt 2006 The New Cactus Lexicon, DH Books, Milborne Port, England]

Key to Cactaceae

Erect or leaning, branches 0, occasionally branched from tip-injury. Stem: (0)10–200(300) cm, 10–35 cm diam, depressed-spheric to short-columnar, hard, glabrous, not segmented; ribs 13–31, prominent; tubercles not conspicuous on ribs. Spines: [6]10–32 per areole, 2–4.5 mm wide, generally awl-shaped, generally flat, ringed with conspicuous ridges, straight to curved or ± hooked, some bristle-like; central spines generally 4 per areole. Flower: ± terminal, near distal edge of spine cluster, 3–6 cm diam; perianth yellow to red [or purple, or white with ± purple midstripes]; ovary glabrous, spines 0, scales numerous, generally rounded, margins minutely fringed or toothed. Fruit: spheric, ovoid, or cylindric, glabrous, spineless, dehiscent by basal pore. Seed: [1]1.5–3 mm, spheric to subreniform, pitted, black.
25 species: southwestern United States, Mexico. (Latin: fierce cactus) [Taylor 1984 Bradleya 2:19–38]

Key to Ferocactus

F. cylindraceus (Engelm.) Orcutt CALIFORNIA BARREL CACTUS
Stem: taller than wide, spheric to columnar. Spines: 10–32, erect and spreading, longest generally recurved to ± hooked, hooked on immature plants, generally ± red [yellow], gray in age. Flower: inner perianth occasionally orange to red; style 12–20 mm, ovary 9–12 mm, scales fringed. Fruit: yellow. Seed: 1.5–3 mm.
2n=22. Gravelly, rocky, or sandy areas; 60–1500 m. Desert (especially e Mojave Desert, w Sonoran Desert); to southwestern Utah, Arizona, northern Mexico. [Echinocactus cylindraceus Engelm.; Ferocactus cylindraceus var. lecontei (Engelm.) Bravo; Ferocactus cylindraceus var. cylindraceus; Ferocactus acanthodes (Lem.) Britton & Rose, nom. rej., misappl.] Formerly recognized varieties untenable. Threatened by collecting; monitoring needed. Apr–May [Online Interchange]
Unabridged note: The name Ferocactus acanthodes has been used for this sp. but its use is ambiguous because the type is lost and its identification is uncertain.

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Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2013. Jepson eFlora,, accessed on Nov 27 2015
Citation for this treatment: [Author of taxon treatment] 2013. Ferocactus, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on Nov 27 2015

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click for enlargement Ferocactus cylindraceus
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Marguerite Gregory 1999 California Academy of Sciences

Geographic subdivisions indicated for the distribution of Ferocactus cylindraceus Markers link to CCH specimen records. If the markers are obscured, reload the page [or change window size and reload]. Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues.
map of distribution 1
(Note: any qualifiers in the taxon distribution description, such as 'northern', 'southern', 'adjacent' etc., are not reflected in the map above, and in some cases indication of a taxon in a subdivision is based on a single collection or author-verified occurence).

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Data provided by the participants of the Consortium of California Herbaria.
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CCH collections by month

Duplicates counted once; synonyms included.
Species do not include records of infraspecific taxa.
Blue line denotes eFlora flowering time.