On one of my hikes I came across this barrel cactus. Two things about this amazed me. First is the only cactus where I am are a few species of cholla, nothing else. You have to travel 20 miles further south crossing over the transition zone into the Sonoran desert before coming into various species of cacti, barrel cactus being one of them. How did just this one plant come to be here? Secondly I have never see a barrel cactus this tall. Not even one half this tall. That is a cholla in the background.
About ten feet away was this cactus also, which is the only one I have seen here.
They too are abundant over the mountains in the Sonoran Desert. Those spines are very tough and could be used as sewing needles for canvas. I have one at home in my cactus garden.