Stenocereus thurberi (Engelm.) Buxbaum
Organpipe Cactus, Organ-pipe Cactus
Cactaceae (Cactus Family)
Synonym(s): Cereus thurberi, Lemaireocereus thurberi, Pachycereus thurberi
USDA Symbol: STTH3
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.
From the Image Gallery
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial
Fruit Type: Berry
Size Notes: Columnar plant 9-20 feet tall, with branches 6 inches across.
Flower: Flower approximately 3 inches long.
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Pink , Purple
Bloom Time: May , Jun , Jul , Aug
Bloom Notes: Diurnal.
DistributionUSA: AZ , TX
Native Distribution: Sonora Desert in AZ & Baja CA
Native Habitat: Deserts to 3000 ft.
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 DirectoryAccording to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:
Tohono Chul Park, Inc. - Tucson, AZ
BibliographyBibref 1140 - Cacti (1991) Clive Innes and Charles Glass
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From the ArchiveWildflower Newsletter 1996 VOL. 13, NO.5 - Bats as Cacti Pollinators, Fall Foliage Hotlines, Creating Fall Foliage Leafprin...
Additional resourcesUSDA: Find Stenocereus thurberi in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Stenocereus thurberi in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Stenocereus thurberi
MetadataRecord Modified: 2010-10-06
Research By: TWC Staff