Cotton Top Cactus (Echinocactus polycephalus)

Common names:
Give a thumbs up Cotton Top Cactus
Give a thumbs up Biznaga de Chilitos
Give a thumbs up Harem Cactus
Give a thumbs up Woolly-Headed Barrel Cactus
Give a thumbs up Many-Headed Barrel

General Plant Information (Edit)
Plant Habit: Cactus/Succulent
Life cycle: Perennial
Sun Requirements: Full Sun to Partial Shade
Minimum cold hardiness: Zone 8b -9.4 °C (15 °F) to -6.7 °C (20 °F)
Flowers: Showy
Flower Color: Pink
Other: Yellow with pink midribs
Bloom Size: 1"-2"
Flower Time: Spring
Late spring or early summer
Suitable Locations: Xeriscapic
Resistances: Drought tolerant
Containers: Needs excellent drainage in pots
Miscellaneous: With thorns/spines/prickles/teeth
Conservation status: Least Concern (LC)

Conservation status:
Conservation status: Least Concern
credit: Daniel Mayer

Photo gallery:

Posted by Baja_Costero (Baja California - Zone 11b) on Sep 23, 2019 2:38 PM

Spiny, offsetting barrel cactus with stems from 4-8 inches in diameter. Clumps may reach 12 to 20 or more heads on old plants in nature. They have 13-21 ribs; 4 spreading central spines, lowest one curving downward; and 6-8 spreading radial spines, which may be difficult to distinguish from the centrals. The spines have traditional uses. Flowers are yellow or yellow with pink midribs. From the southwestern US (CA, NV, UT, AZ) and northwestern Sonora, Mexico. Probably closest to E. parryi, a usually solitary plant.

Slow growing in cultivation and late to offset. Provide strong light and excellent drainage. Do not overwater.

The two subspecies (whose existence is apparently controversial) are Echinocactus polycephalus subsp. polycephalus (widespread, spines covered with very fine hairs, large clumps, lower elevation habitat) and Biznaga de Chilitos (Echinocactus polycephalus subsp. xeranthemoides) (spines without hairs, smaller clumps, higher elevation habitat from 3300-4900 feet).

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Discussion Threads about this plant
Thread Title Last Reply Replies
Cactus and succulents chat by Baja_Costero Nov 21, 2019 12:29 PM 5,823
Golden Barrel Cactus by herrwood Oct 16, 2017 5:23 AM 14

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