General Landscape Uses:
Primarily recommended for natural landscapes and habitat restorations. Also useful in spiny barrier plantings.
Ecological Restoration Notes:
Generally an uncommon element of coastal hammocks, but occasionally forms dense thickets.
Grown by enthusiasts and occasionally by native plant nurseries. Available in Key West at Key West Tropical Forest & Botanical Garden
Medium vinelike spiny shrub, sometimes forming dense thickets.
Typically 6-8 feet in height, but sometimes climbing higher in other vegetation.
Monroe County Keys north along the coasts to St. Lucie and Lee counties; West Indies, Texas, Mexico, Central America and northern South America. Somewhat sporadic along the South Florida coastline.
Map of select IRC data from peninsular Florida.
Moist, well-drained sandy or limestone soils, with humusy top layer.
Moderate; can grow in nutrient poor soils, but needs some organic content to thrive.
Salt Water Tolerance:
Moderate; tolerates brackish water or occasional inundation by salt water.
Salt Wind Tolerance:
High; can tolerate moderate amounts of salt wind without injury.
High; does not require any supplemental water once established.
Light shade to moderate shade.
Showy; opens at night.
Red, spiny, tubercled berry.
Easily grown from seed. It can also be grown from stem cuttings with the base planted about 2" in the ground.
Barbwire cactus is heavily armed with spines. It is listed as threatened by the state of Florida.