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Vascular Plants of California
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Ferocactus cylindraceus

Higher Taxonomy
Family: CactaceaeView DescriptionDichotomous Key
Habit: 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.
Genera In Family: +- 125 genera, +- 1800 species: America (especially deserts), Africa; many cultivated, some edible. Note: 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.
eFlora Treatment Author: Bruce D. Parfitt, except as noted
Scientific Editor: Bruce D. Parfitt, Douglas H. Goldman, Bruce G. Baldwin, Thomas J. Rosatti.
Genus: FerocactusView DescriptionDichotomous Key

Habit: 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.
Species In Genus: 25 species: southwestern United States, Mexico. Etymology: (Latin: fierce cactus)
eFlora Treatment Author: Bruce D. Parfitt
Reference: Taylor 1984 Bradleya 2:19--38
Ferocactus cylindraceus (Engelm.) Orcutt
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. Chromosomes: 2n=22.
Ecology: Gravelly, rocky, or sandy areas; Elevation: 60--1500 m. Bioregional Distribution: e PR, D (esp e DMoj, w DSon); Distribution Outside California: to southwestern Utah, Arizona, northern Mexico. Flowering Time: Apr--May Note: Formerly recognized varieties untenable. Threatened by collecting; monitoring needed.
Synonyms: Echinocactus cylindraceus Engelm.; Ferocactus cylindraceus var. lecontei (Engelm.) Bravo; Ferocactus cylindraceus var. cylindraceus; Ferocactus acanthodes (Lem.) Britton & Rose, nom. rej., misappl.
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.
Jepson eFlora Author: Bruce D. Parfitt
Reference: Taylor 1984 Bradleya 2:19--38
Index of California Plant Names (ICPN; linked via the Jepson Online Interchange)

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Botanical illustration including Ferocactus cylindraceus

botanical illustration including Ferocactus cylindraceus


Citation for this treatment: Bruce D. Parfitt 2012, Ferocactus cylindraceus, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on June 27, 2022.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2022, Jepson eFlora,, accessed on June 27, 2022.

Ferocactus cylindraceus
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© 2015 Barry Rice
Ferocactus cylindraceus
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© 1998 Christopher L. Christie
Ferocactus cylindraceus
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© 2003 Michael Charters
Ferocactus cylindraceus
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© 2012 Keir Morse
Ferocactus cylindraceus
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© 2014 Keir Morse
Ferocactus cylindraceus
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© 2014 Keir Morse

More photos of Ferocactus cylindraceus in CalPhotos

Geographic subdivisions for Ferocactus cylindraceus:
e PR, D (esp e DMoj, w DSon)
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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).


Data provided by the participants of the  Consortium of California Herbaria.
View all CCH records
All markers link to CCH specimen records. The original determination is shown in the popup window.
Blue markers indicate specimens that map to one of the expected Jepson geographic subdivisions (see left map). Purple markers indicate specimens collected from a garden, greenhouse, or other non-wild location.
Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues.

CCH collections by month

Duplicates counted once; synonyms included.
Species do not include records of infraspecific taxa, if there are more than 1 infraspecific taxon in CA.
Blue line denotes eFlora flowering time (fruiting time in some monocot genera).