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  Tucson Cactus and Succulent Society

Growing Succulents in the Desert Column

(List of Growing Succulents in the Desert columns)

Ferocactus of the Month
"TCSS Golden Fishhook" by Chris Monrad

Photos by Chris Monrad

(This article may only be reprinted with the author's permission.)

It has been ten years since the TCSS Cactus Rescue Crew found its first specimen of a golden spined and vivid yellow flowered version of our native Ferocactus wislizenii at the 700-acre Saddlebrooke rescue site. Nearly 200 of the offspring from this rare plant (and four other similar plants found by the Cactus Rescue Crew from 2002 thru 2006) have now found their way into public landscapes around Tucson.

Five year old specimens , many of them in flower in August as this was written, can be found in planters surrounding the Pima County Superior Court Building, the Jewish Community Center, and the two new University of Arizona dormitory complexes at the northeast corners of Sixth Street and Euclid and Sixth Street and Highland.

The five year old plants exhibit the hand-pollinated heritage of their parents with robust golden spination as well as large bright yellow buds and flowers that can be seen from the public roadways and viewed even better from the adjacent sidewalks.

Known to be extremely frost hardy and fast growing with far showier buds, flowers and fruit than the non-native ‘Golden Barrel’ (Echinocactus grusonii), it is hoped that the TCSS Golden Fishhook will become the golden-spined barrel cactus of choice in Tucson landscapes.

Extremely limited quantities of this form may be available at selected member nurseries, but many more plants are in production and should be in the market in the coming years.

My utmost appreciation and a big ‘Thank You’ is given to all of the TCSS Cactus Rescue Crew volunteers, developers, contractors, design professionals, municipalities, and school districts that have sustained the Cactus Rescue program since its inception in 1999, Mike Reimer at the AZ Dept. of Agriculture, the various nursery-men and women that have offered advice and produced numerous seedlings over the years, and to the TCSS Board that helped to support the widespread promotion of this plant since I developed this crazy idea about six years ago.


List of Growing Succulents in the Desert columns