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Organ Pipe Cactus

Stenocereus thurberi

Details & Attributes


Plant Type(s) Cactus, succulent, perennial
Native to Arizona Yes!
Water Needs Low
Sun Full sun
Pollinators Bats
Has Spines Yes
Size
In relative feet, width by height
10-20' × 5-15'
Freeze Tolerant No
Flowering Season April-July
Flower Color White
Minimum Temperature Range 25 °F
Leaf Description Spines
Fruit A round fruit, with easily removed clusters of spines. The inside is fleshy, and filled with tiny seeds.
View on SEINet View SEINet Entry
Range Map View SEINet Range Map
Elevation Range 1000-3500 ft.
Ethnobotany The fruit is used for food, the seeds are parched and made into flour for cakes, ground and used for oil, the fruits are dried, made into juice, used as fodder, made into jams and syrups, made into wine, candy, made into torches, for ink, the skeletons were used as a pole for knocking off ripe fruit. The limited range of the plants meant that the fruits could be used as a trade good with surrounding groups.
Description Organ Pipe is an epic columnar cactus which provides a different aesthetic from Saguaro. These plants branch from the base, forming a stand or large clump of ribbed, cylindrical branches that can reach 10 feet or more in height. This species grows well into northern Mexico, but in Arizona these plants can only be found in the central, southern part of the state, south of Phoenix. The best place to view this species in habitat is at Organ Pipe National Monument along the U.S./Mexico border. Like most other cacti, Organ Pipes benefit from growing on a well draining, coarse soil. The limited distribution of this species in Arizona is due to frost sensitivity. These plants may be grown in the ground in Southern Arizona if provided with a warm location. In cooler climates Organ Pipe would function better as a potted specimen. The flowers are funnel shaped, bat pollinated, and open in the evening.