Description: Single stemmed small barrel cactus although it does
offset occasionally. Similar but a bit smaller than F. viridescens.
Stem: Flattened globular
slowly becoming shortly elongated, 40 cm tall, 30 cm in diameter (but
usually less than 20 cm in diameter and slightly more tall), depressed
in the centre. Epidermis grey-green.
Ribs: ± 21 ribs.
Central spines: 4, 2-4 cm long, of which the lowermost longer,
ringed, wide, flattened and bent downward, grey-red to brownish.
Radial spines: Approx 15 whitish.
Flowers: Diurnal, purple to pale pink (or orange) up to 4 cm long
and whide. Perianth segments linear-lanceolate.
Blooming season: Summer.
NOTE: The plants
in circulation and labelled F. fordii are now named var.
borealis, which means northerly. To see the proper F. Fordii
is quite a sight since it has much longer spines. It is not (or very
rare) in cultivation and it is tough to grow when young. F.
fordii v. borealis occurs one third of the way down the Baja
peninsula, near the coast and near the road. It is fully grown at 20 cm
in diameter. The real F. fordii proper has much longer
F. fordii var. grandiflorus is larger and can attains up
to 40 cm of eight at maturity.