Golden barrel cactus (Echinocactus grusonii)
Critically endangered on the IUCN Red List.
Echinocactus grusonii is a popular cactus among cultivators, but in the wild, it is found in only a small area of central Mexico. There are fewer than 250 plants, which are found on slopes of volcanic rock. It can grow up to a metre in height, and produces small yellow flowers in summer once it reaches around 20 years old.
Due to its popularity, it is most likely that E. grusonii is threatened by over-harvesting. Its native habitat has also been damaged by flooding caused by the construction of a dam.
As with many endangered cacti, the collection of wild specimens is illegal. There are no specific conservation measures for E. grusonii, but as there are so many captive plants, it is not in danger of becoming entirely extinct.
Photo: Stan Shebs.