We rescued these two robust specimens of Golden Barrel Cactus (Echinocactus grusonii) from abandonment two months ago, and are glad to report that they are thriving in our care. They had been uprooted and overturned, tossed by the roadside near an area that is frequently used for illegal dumping. Each one must weigh at least eighty pounds, so this was a difficult rescue. How do you pick up a spiny golden barrel? Our solution was a scrap of carpet and leather gloves, plus a dolly to move it to the back of our car.
Golden Barrels are native to central Mexico where they are endangered in the wild. Cultivation for horticultural use has made them one of the most common cacti used in landscaping around Phoenix and in desert climates around the world. This makes Golden Barrels one of the many beneficiaries of the gardening trade, as there is no recorded medicinal, edible or other human use for these beautiful cacti.