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Wasowski, Sally and Andy
Stenocereus thurberi (Engelm.) Buxbaum
Organpipe cactus, Organ-pipe cactus
Synonyms: Cereus thurberi,
USDA Symbol: STTH3
USDA Native Status: Native to U.S.
This tree-like cactus, 9-20 ft. tall, bears many branches from its short-trunked base. Lavender flowers bloom nocturnally. The red, fleshy fruit is edible.
This cactus branches at the base, which gives the stems the appearance of organ pipes. Since these sentinels of the desert are very sensitive to severe winter frosts, they are found only in the warmest parts of the Sonoran Desert. They do occur in extreme southern Arizona, where they are celebrated at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. In Mexico, the large, delicious fruits are made into a candy called pitahaya dulce. The nocturnal flowers are beautiful and often attract bats.
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial Habit: Cactus/Succulent Size Notes:
Columnar plant 6½-10ft tall, with branches 6in across. Flower:
Flower approximately 3 inches long.
Fruit: Size Class:
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Pink , Purple
Bloom Time: May , Jun , Jul , Aug
Bloom Notes: Diurnal
AZ , TX Native Distribution:
Sonora Desert in AZ & Baja CA Native Habitat:
Deserts to 3000 ft. USDA Native Status: L48(N)
Growing ConditionsWater Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Dry
Soil Description: Sandy or rocky soils.
Conditions Comments: Very frost sensitive. Minimum temperature 50F.
From the National Organizations Directory
According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is either on display or available from the following:
Tohono Chul Park, Inc.
- Tucson, AZ
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Record Modified: 2010-10-06
Research By: TWC Staff