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Ferocactus piliferus

A native of Mexico, this Ferocactus can grow to three meters in height and attain a diameter of 50 cm. Its thick spines are characteristic of the species, and are bright red or yellow, though striped varieties also exist. It is widely cultivated and can be purchased at many nurseries. The way this cactus first came to Europe in the 19th century is interesting.

Frederick Staines, an employee of a mining company in Mexico, organized laborious convoys of oxcarts to transport giant barrel cacti to the coast for shipment to England. The cacti were packed in large balls of Tillandsia usneoides, a grayish-green, rootless bromeliad that you can also see here in the entrance hall. Staines’s first shipment reached London in 1845, including a Ferocactus piliferus weighing 110 kg.

Today, many cacti are threatened with extinction in their natural habitats and are protected by international law.



Audio file download
Ferocactus piliferus (MP3, 480 KB)

Audio production and copyright: Soundgarden Audioguidance GmbH
Text: Ehrentraud Bayer, Botanischer Garten München-Nymphenburg