While the long, beautiful spines of a mature barrel cactus are truly a sight to behold, they are woven so tightly together, across the cactus' ribs that any environmental detritus that falls on or around the cactus, becomes entangled.
While each species has its own unique traits and properties, all share an inherent hardiness in dry, arid conditions. However, because they evolved to exist in regions largely devoid of water for the majority of the year, they are highly suceptable to over-watering and potential rotting--either from fungus or from being waterlogged.
Today, we'll be talking about the ever-lovely Golden Barrel Cactus (Echinocactus grusoni), first described by Hildmann (1891). I will admit that the barrel cactus has always been a favorite of mine. In retrospect, that is likely because it looks much like a cuddly pillow (unlike the soft-spined Paraguan and Brasilian native, (Notocactus leninghausii), but I digress.