Global Range: California near the coast from Del Mar south and inland nearly as far as Otay. Mexico in northwest Baja California Benson, 1969).
Ferocactus viridescens can be characterized by a principal central spine that is neither bristlelike nor yellow and rigid, but very stout, rigid, pointing downward through its entire length, this evident in the older areoles on the side of the plant; stem short and turgid, but length usually greater than diameter, 15-30(45) cm long, 20-35 cm in diameter (Benson, 1982).
Habitat and Ecology
Comments: It occurs on sandy or gravelly soils of hillsides in the chaparral; 30 to 50 feet elevation (Benson, 1969).
Ferocactus species are likely to utilize nurse plants to access favorable microhabitat conditions early in development.
Life History and Behavior
All Ferocactus species produce fleshy-fruits which are consumed and dispersed by animals (Valiente-Banuet and Godinez-Alvarez 2002).
IUCN Red List Assessment
Red List Category
Red List Criteria
National NatureServe Conservation Status
Rounded National Status Rank: N3 - Vulnerable
NatureServe Conservation Status
Rounded Global Status Rank: G4 - Apparently Secure
Comments: Most cacti subject to horticultural collecting.
Ferocactus viridescens is a rare species of barrel cactus known by several common names, including Coast barrel cactus and San Diego barrel cactus. It is native to southern California and northern Baja California. Most of its native range is in San Diego County, California, where it is threatened by development, agriculture, and other alterations in its habitat.
This cactus is spherical, oblate, or nearly cylindrical, is usually wider than tall, and less than 30 centimeters in height. The flesh is bright green and arranged into several ribs covered in arrays of long spines. The spines stick straight out and may curve a bit, and are red when new, dulling to gray or tan. The cactus blooms in yellow to greenish flowers with red or pink scales. The fruit is yellow or red.