- San Diego Zoo and Safari Park
Cactus: Barrel Cactus Echinocactus and Ferocactus
FAMILY: CACTACEAE (Cactus Family)
Although they may not be suitable for holding beer or wine, historically barrel cacti have been hollowed out and used as storage containers and cooking pots by some Native American tribes. They can also be a source of water for the dehydrated, but don't expect a nice pot of clear water, as you'd need to scoop out the warm, fleshy pith and squeeze it to obtain the moisture. Barrel cacti also come in handy for directions: legend has it that this cactus is known as "the compass plant" because it tilts toward the south (the north side is more protected from the sun, so it grows faster, pushing in the opposite direction).