top of page

The Organ Pipe Cactus (Stenocereus thurberi)

When it comes to desert plants, none is more noteworthy than the Cactus. With its sharp spines and abundance of liquids, cacti are some of the few plants built to thrive in this other inhospitable climate. So what can we learn about the Organ Pipe cactus in particular?

Physical description

The Organ Pipe Cactus gets its name from the fact that it sprouts up in many tubes, similar to the way an organ does. These stems are about 6 inches thick and can be several yards high. It can take upwards of 150 years for their plant to reach maturity, and start producing flowers.

These pinkish flowers are about 3 inches long and open up at night, instead of during the day. This is probably due to the fact that they depend on bats in order to pollinate. This makes them different than most flowering plants, who rely mainly on insects to pollinate and reproduce.

The small fruit that appears is about the size of a tennis ball and is covered in spines. Inside, the flesh is edible, and many people have described it as tasting better than watermelon. The Seri people of Mexico have been harvesting and cultivating this fruit for centuries.

Habitat and Location

This cactus is mainly found in the desert regions of Mexico, mostly in Sanora, and even Baja California. Very few appear in the US, which is why it is barely known here. They grow mainly on rocky hillsides and can be fairly sensitive to frost.

Otherwise, it is a fairly fascinating plant due to how it looks, and the long history that it has with the people of the area.

Check out the video below to learn more about this interesting plant.

46 views0 comments


bottom of page