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Ferocactus emoryi (Engelmann) Orcutt 1926

Emory barrel, Emory’s barrel cactus, Coville’s barrel cactus, traveler’s friend

KingdomPlantaePlants, but not fungi, lichens, or algae
SubkingdomTracheobiontaVascular plants—plants with a “circulatory system” for delivering water and nutrients
DivisionMagnoliophytaFlowering plants, also known as angiosperms
ClassMagnoliopsidaDicotyledons—plants with two initial seed leaves
SubclassCaryophyllidaeCacti, many other succulents, carnivorous plants, and leadworts
OrderCaryophyllalesIncludes cacti, carnations, amaranths, ice plants, and many carnivorous plants
FamilyCactaceaeSucculent (water-storing) plants, often spiny
GenusFerocactusFrom the Latin ferus, “fierce,” and cactus, referring to its heavy spines
SpeciesemoryiAfter Maj. William Hemsley Emory (1811-1887), Army officer and Director of the Mexican Boundary Survey

About plant names...

This cactus is found only in northern Baja California Sur, Mexico.

Identification: Plants are light green to bluish gray, forming a single round or cylindrical stem up to 8' (2.5 m) high and 3' (1 m) in diameter, with 15-30 prominent ribs. A single large central spine, 1½-4" (4-10 cm) long and often curved, is surrounded by 7-9 radial spines up to 2" (6 cm) long. Funnel-shaped flowers span the range from deep red brown to red to yellow. They are up to 3" (7.5 cm) long and 2½" (7 cm) around. Oval-shaped fruits are up to 1¾" (5 cm) long.


Anderson, Edward F., The Cactus Family, Timber Press, 2001, p. 329

Online References:

The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum Center for Sonoran Desert Studies


The Arizona Sonora Desert Museum Sonoran Desert Digital Library

The Vanderbilt University Bioimages web site


Echinocactus emoryi var. rectispinus Engelmann 1896

Ferocactus rectispinus (Engelmann) Britton & Rose 1922

Ferocactus emoryi var. rectispinus (Engelmann) N. P. Taylor 1984

Ferocactus emoryi subsp. rectispinus (Engelmann) N. P. Taylor 1998

Ferocactus covillei Britton & Rose 1922


Ferocactus emoryi description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 25 May 2020.

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Ferocactus emoryi (emory barrel, Emory’s barrel cactus, Coville’s barrel cactus, traveler’s friend)

2/24/2010 · San Diego (Quail) Botanic Garden, Encinitas, Cali­fornia

Ferocactus emoryi (emory barrel, Emory’s barrel cactus, Coville’s barrel cactus, traveler’s friend)

(Immature) · 2/17/2007 · Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, Cali­fornia


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