Ajuntament de Barcelona

Echinocactus grusonii

Mossèn Costa i Llobera Garden

    Catalan name: 
    Seient de sogra
    Spanish name: 
    Asiento de la suegra
    English name: 
    Golden barrel cactus

    According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the conservation status of this plant is critically endangered.

    Species characteristics
    Central Mexico (fom San Luis de Potosí to Hidalgo state)
    Semidesertic lands, between volcanic rocks, at an aproximate height of 1,400 m

    Almost spherical (with flatten top) bright green fleshy plant (60 cm-1 m in diameter) with yellow woolliness. It has between 21 and 37 straight prominent and thin ribs. They have big areolas (the spot where the prickles appear) which are covered by woolliness and 1-2 cm between them. The woollines colour varies depending on the plant age: when young it is yellow, later it is whitish and finally it is greyish.

    The radial prickles, in groups of 8-10, are more than 3 cm long, whereas the central ones, in groups of 3-5, are about 5 cm long. Both the radial ones and the central ones are strong, stretch marked and straight, although the central ones can be slightly curved down.

    The flowers (4-7 cm long and 5 cm in diameter) appear on the adult specimens' upper areolas between the woolliness and they last 3 days. The external petals are yellowish inside and chestnut-browns outside and the internal ones are yellowish and bright.

    Flowering time: 
    Uses and properties: 

    Its spectacular appearance when it reaches the madurity makes it highly appreciated as a decorative plant, either by itself or in group, in warm areas gardens.

    History and curiosities: 

    The scientific name Echinocactus grusonii consists of the genus name Echinocactus, coming from the Greek words εχινος, “hedgehog”, and κάκτος, “prickly cactus” and, later, “cactus”, “cactus that ressembles a hedgehog”, and the term grusonii, which comes from the family name of the German cactus lover Hermann Gruson (1821-1895).

    For further information: 

    THE ROYAL HORTICULTURAL SOCIETY. Enciclopedia de plantas y flores. Barcelona: Grijalbo, 1996