Ferocactus hamatacanthus var. setispinus


Echinocactus hamatacanthus
Hamatocactus hamatacanthus


Ferocactus hamatacanthus var. setispinus is native to Mexico Central, Mexico Gulf, Mexico Northeast, New Mexico and Texas where the plant grows from the lowest desert up to the wooded mountains in the limestone mesas and alluvial valleys and can spread up to 700 m of altitude.


Ferocactus hamatacanthus var. setispinus is a perennial succulent belonging to the Cactaceae botanical family. The plant usually has a solitary habit and can reach up to 60 cm tall and up to 30 cm in diameter. The stem is globose when young and cylindrical in age, apically depressed and it is arranged in 10-13 ribs. The pronounced ribs are well-marked, dull green to bluish-green in color and are made of thick and rounded tubercles. The areoles are round, large and white and bear the spines. The 8-14 radial spines are up to 8 cm long, radiating and yellowish to red-brownish in color. The 4-8 central spines are slightly hooked, curved backwards, flat and stiff. Blooming occurs from the early summer to early Autumn and the flowers are borne at the apical part of the plant in a ring shape. The flowers are funnel-shaped, large, glossy, yellow with a green throat and scented. The fruits are small, round, egg-shaped, fleshy, greenish to red and contain shiny black seeds.


This is a slow growing plant, easy to cultivate. The best sun-exposure is in bright place but is recommended to avoid direct sun-light in the hottest periods. Long exposure to direct sun-light can cause burns and burnt spots. Temperatures below 6 ° C can damage the plant so it is best to shelter it or place it in a cold greenhouse during the winter. Too low temperatures can cause the stem or leaves to break due to water freezing inside the tissues. Temperatures between 10 and 15 °C allow the plants to enter vegetative rest which is essential for the flowering of the following year. Plants should not be placed inside the house where average temperatures of 20 degrees prevent vegetative rest. The best draining soil for this genus is made up of 33% fertile loam and 66% coarse sand. The pumice should always be placed on the bottom of the pot. Remember to use a perforating pot to drain excess water. Watering can be done regularly during the vegetative period. Irrigation is proportional to the size of the pot, the position and the season. In Spring and Autumn the plant can be watered with a glass of water every 10-15 days; in summer it can be watered every 7 days. Decrease the amount of water if the plant is kept indoors or if the pot is smaller than 12 cm. The plant is used to growing in poor soils, for this reason it does not need abundant fertilization, it is sufficient to fertilize once in spring and once in summer. If the pot starts to be too small for the plant you can repot the plant in a pot 2 cm wider. Repotting should be done early in the growing season with fresh new potting soil; it is usually done every 3-4 years. Be careful to red spiders and mealy bugs.


Propagation can be done by cutting or by seed. By cutting you can make the cut during the spring and then let the cutting dry; after a few days the cut surface will dry and a callus will form, then place the cutting in a mixture of sand, soil and pumice. To increase the success of propagation you can make two or more cuttings at the same time. It is advisable to use rooting hormone at the base of the cut to energize root development. For cuttings it is recommended temperatures around 20 °C. By seed it is very simple to propagate the plant, it is enough to sow the seed in a sandy loam and keep it with a high level of humidity and at temperature of 14 C°.


The name comes from the Latin “ferox”, that is fierce, given by the presence of colorful, strong numerous and menacing thorns along the ribs of the stem.

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