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Common (vernacular) names applied to California vascular plants

compiled by Elizabeth Painter

up to date as of May 1, 2016

Common names (also referred to as vernacular names) are applied differently at different times and places by different users. This list is compiled from many sources and is intended to be as comprehensive as possible. It is not intended to indicate which common name is correct or preferred. Please send comments about this page to Elizabeth Painter (

TaxonEchinocactus polycephalus var. polycephalus
Family common name(s)cactus
Genus common name(s)echinocactus; clustered barrel-cactus; clustered barrel cactus; devil's pincushion cactus
Species common name(s)many-headed barrel-cactus; many-headed barrel cactus; many headed barrel cactus; many-headed barrels; many-head barrel-cactus; many-head barrel cactus; cotton-top barrel cactus; cotton-top barrel-cactus; cottontop barrel-cactus; cottontop barrel cactus; cotton top barrel cactus; cotton-top cactus; cottontop cactus; cotton top cactus; woolly-headed barrel-cactus; woolly-headed barrel cactus; woolly headed barrel cactus; woolly-headed barrel; woolly headed barrel; harem cactus
Common name(s) generally applied to other taxa or multiple taxawoolly-headed cactus, devil’s pincushion are applied to multiple Echinocactus taxa; barrel-cactus, barrel cactus, hedgehog-cactus, hedgehog cactus, hedge-hog cactus, hedge hog cactus, eagle-claw cactus, eagle claw cactus, mound cactus, Mojave mound cactus, Mohave mound cactus, woolly cactus, clustered cactus, horse-crippler cactus, horse crippler cactus, horse crippler, horse-crippler are applied to multiple Cactaceae taxa; cottontop, cotton-top, cotton top, devil's pincushion, devils pincushion, hedgehog-thistle, hedgehog thistle, hedgehogthistle are applied to taxa in multiple families
Common name(s), rejectednot recommended (pejorative or derogatory): nigger-head cactus, niggerhead cactus, nigger-head, nigger-heads, niggerheads; not recommended: Indian melon
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