Many people believe the barrel cactus is filled with water. Not true. It is filled by a
slimy alkaline juice. It is a member of the Cactus Family and is also known as Arizona
barrel cactus, candy barrel cactus, fishhook barrel and compass barrel.
- Blooms from July through September. Flowers are shades of orange to yellow to reddish
and are cup-shaped. Flowering is followed by yellow, barrel-shaped, scaly fruit.
- Fruits are eaten by deer and rodents.
Bees are attracted to the plant's flowers. Cactus candy is made from plant's pulp.
- Found at elevations between 1,000 and 4,000'.
- Native Americans used its sharp, hooked spines as fishhooks. A good way to differentiate
a barrel cactus from a young saguaro cactus, is to look at the spines; the saguaro's are
straight not hooked.
- Grows faster on its shady side causing it to lean in a southerly direction, hence the
name "compass cactus."