Echinocactus is a small genus containing some large barrel cacti. One species vies for the record of being the largest barrel cactus.
We'll look at what makes an Echinocactus different from those "other" barrel cacti known as Ferocactus. In this small genus some species are very rare in the wild and others are widespread across whole desert regions. Some species are seldom grown while the Golden barrel (Echinocactus grusonii) is likely the most common barrel cactus in cultivation, and might be in your yard.
Echinocactus includes plants which stand out in the dramatic landscapes of the Grand Canyon, Death Valley, Big Bend, and the Pinacate region of Sonora. Three kinds are native to Arizona and the nearest may be encountered in the Ironwood National Monument.
Michael Chamberland is the Director of Horticulture at the Tucson Botanical Gardens. He has also worked at other gardens including the Desert Botanical Garden, the US National Arboretum, and the Cheekwood Botanical Garden in Nashville. Michael holds a Master's degree in the advanced study of Echinocactus.
Be sure to attend this excellent program presented by our good friend Michael Chamberland. There will be refreshments, raffle plants and also, free plants for all who remain.