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Stenocereus thurberi

Organpipe Cactus
Cactaceae
Cacti and succulents

This columnar cactus is native to southern Arizona and northern Mexico. It branches from the base (also from the top, if injured) to form a clump to 12 ft. wide. Dark green or gray-green stems grow slowly to 15–20 ft. tall; each stem reaches 6 in. thick, has 12 to 19 ribs, and is covered with black spines 1/2–1 in. long. In old plants, the clump may contain 30 or more stems of varying heights; the arrangement is said to resemble a pipe organ. Blooms from mid- to late spring; funnel-shaped, 3-in. flowers in white with a touch of pink to reddish purple open at night. Rounded, 1 1/2-in.-long fruits are olive green, becoming red tinged when ripe. They split open to reveal edible, sweet, bright red pulp with black seeds. Needs excellent drainage.

S. t. littoralis (S. littoralis), sometimes called dwarf organpipe cactus, is native to southern Baja California. It grows slowly to 5–10 ft. tall and may be erect or somewhat sprawling. Bright pink flowers open in the afternoon.

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