Description: The standard
ferox is a very large, spiny and very variable cactus,
solitary or branched. The body is almost concealed by the spines.
Stem: Bluish-green, spherical at first and later sort
of cylindrical, and it may
grow 25 cm tall and 10-40 cm in diameter.
Ribs: 25 to 50 ribs deeply incised between the tubercles, which
are approx. 2 cm long.
Spines: Radials are hard to tell from the central spines. Each
areole bears approx 4 to 15 spines ranging from slender to thick,
conical with a wider base, and irregular in length, the longest up to 8
cm or more. They are flexible and curved upward, and those on new parts
of the plant have occasionally a hooked tip. Their colour varies from
yellowish to brown when young, but later grey.
Flowers: Lateral or basal, 7-10 cm. long, funnel-shaped, and have
a slender, curved tube covered with long white hairs. Perianth segments
are short and white, but
can be of almost any colour.
Fruit: Globular, dark green with flowers remnants.
Twist is a
strange and nice
cultivar with very
long curly irregularly
hooked to form ringlets. With good
sun exposure the
spines are 10-12 cm (or more) long.
NOTE: The fruit has a whitish mucilaginous pulp and
is edible with a fresh and agreeable taste.
Cultivation: It is a summer grower species
that offers no cultivation difficulties.
Lobivia ferox has a fairly large
tap root, and should be kept in a deep pot with a very draining mineral
substrate. Water regularly in summer (but do
not overwater ) keep dry in winter. Feed with a high potassium
fertilizer in summer.
Repot yearly until reaching about 100 mm in
size, then every two or three years will suffice. Repotting is best done
at the end of winter but can be done at other times. Do not water for a
couple of weeks after repotting to reduce risk of root rot via broken
roots. Repotting will increase size of stems. It
is quite cold tolerant if kept dry (hardy to -5° C). Need a bright
exposure, full sun or half shade in summer.
Propagation: Grafting, cutting.