Echinocactus Grusonii Golden Barrel Cactus
D12 x 9cm Echinocactus grusonii, popularly known as the golden barrel cactus, golden ball or, amusingly, mother-in-law's cushion, is a well known species of cactus, and is endemic to east-central Mexico. It is rare and endangered in the wild, where it is found near Mesa de León in the state of Querétaro, and in the state of Hidalgo. The population was critically reduced in the 1990s, by the creation of the Zimapán Dam and reservoir in Hidalgo. The cactus grows in volcanic rock on slopes, at altitudes around 1,400 metres (4,600 ft). Growing as a large roughly spherical globe, Echinocactus grusonii may eventually reach over 1 metre (3.3 ft) in height after many years. Younger Golden Barrel plants do not look similar to mature specimens. The generation lifetime is estimated to be 30 years.There may be up to 35 pronounced ribs in mature plants, though they are not evident in young plants, which may have a knobbly appearance. The sharp spines are long, straight or slightly curved, and various shades of yellow or, occasionally, white.Small yellow flowers appear in summer around the crown of the plant, but only after twenty years or so.