Arizona Naturalists >>> Sonoran Desert Naturalist >>> Field Guide >>> Sonoran Desert Flora >>> Cactaceae - Columnar

Sonoran Desert Columnar Cacti

Large cacti with with one or more tall columns reaching to several meters in height. Large white flowers.

Saguaro Cactus

Carnegiea gigantea

Organ Pipe Cactus

Stenocereus thurberi

Photo by Mike Plagens

Tall, tree sized cactus with almost always one main trunk rising several meters before the first branch (arm). Large white flowers in May. Clusters of red fruit at top ripe June-July. Detailed Description

Photo © by Mike Plagens

Large cactus with several to many stems arising from basal branching point. Large white flowers positioned along ribs of stem down from apex open at night. Ranges along southern tier of Sonoran Desert in Arizona and hence into Mexico. Detailed Description

Sponsored Links


Pachycereus pringlei

Senita Cactus

Stenocereus schottii

Photo © by Mike Plagens

Massive cactus with robust arms, some branching from base and others above base. Flowers along ribs. Not found in USA except in gardens. Common in Baja California and parts of Sonora, Mexico. Detailed Description

Photo © by Mike Plagens

Branching pattern similar to Organ Pipe Cactus, but fewer ribs. Cap of long hairlike spines above about 1½meters on the columnar branches. Rare in USA, found only at Senita Basin in Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. Common in Sonora, Mexico. Detailed Description



Night-blooming Cereus

Peniocereus greggii


Photo by NASA

Narrow 2 to 4 cm diameter stems creep up through a supporting shrub. Huge white flower opens at night. Fairly common in deep soils but often difficult to locate. This picture is available at Wikimedia Project.     Detailed Description

Sonoran Desert Places


Copyright Michael J. Plagens, 1999-2008