From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Organ pipe cactus
Stenocereus thurberi
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Order: Caryophyllales
Family: Cactaceae
Subfamily: Cactoideae
Tribe: Echinocereeae
Genus: Stenocereus
(A.Berger) Riccob.
Type species
Stenocereus stellatus

Several, see text


Stenocereus (from Ancient Greek στενός (stenós) 'narrow', and Latin cereus 'candle') is a genus of columnar or tree-like cacti from the Baja California Peninsula and other parts of Mexico, Arizona in the United States, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Venezuela and the West Indies. The genus has been enlarged by the addition of species from several other genera. A close relative is the peculiar chinoa or chende cactus, Polaskia chende.


The flowers are mostly borne near the apex of the stems and mostly nocturnal. They are considered easy to grow and generally grow slowly.

Stenocereus thurberi (the organ pipe cactus) is a well-known member of this genus and is widely distributed in Arizona and northern Mexico.

The fruit is similar to a dragon fruit. Those of Stenocereus gummosus, acidic and very refreshing, are highly favored by the Seris of northwestern Mexico[1] who call the cactus ziix is ccapxl[2] - "thing whose fruit is sour". It is commonly known in Spanish as pitaya agria, or by the English translation Sour Pitaya. S. griseus (Dagger Cactus) fruits, locally known as iguaraya, are relished by the Wayuu from the La Guajira Peninsula of Colombia.[3]

Stenocereus are often used as ornamental plants in hot and arid regions, and as noted above, some species can double as a fruit crop.

The interior of Stenocereus trunks often grows to form tough, cane-like stakes suitable for certain kinds of construction. The Wayuu use those of Dagger Cactus for building wattle and daub walls, a technique they call yotojoro, after their name for the cactus wood "canes".[3]


Image Scientific name Common Name Distribution
Stenocereus alamosensis (J.M. Coult.) A.C. Gibson & K.E. Horak Octopus cactus, cina Mexico
Stenocereus aragonii (F.A.C.Weber) Buxb. Costa Rica
Stenocereus beneckei (Ehrenb.) A. Berger & Buxb. Central Mexico
Stenocereus chacalapensis (Bravo & T. MacDoug.) Buxb. Oaxaca - Mexico
Stenocereus chrysocarpus Sánchez-Mej. Guerrero and Michoacán, Mexico
Stenocereus dumortieri (Scheidw.) Backeb. Querétaro, Mexico
Stenocereus eichlamii (Britton & Rose) Buxb. ex Bravo Guanocal, Organo, Pitahaya, Tuna Guatemala : Chiapas - Mexico (Central America, North America)
Stenocereus eruca (Brandegee) A.C. Gibson & K.E. Horak Creeping devil caterpillar cactus Baja California Sur - Mexico
Stenocereus fimbriatus (Lam.) Lourteig Cuba, Hispaniola (Haiti, Dominican Republic), Jamaica, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands
Stenocereus fricii Sánchez-Mej. Pitayo De Aguas Colima, Jalisco, Michoacan de Ocampo - Mexico
Stenocereus griseus (Haw.) Buxb. Dagger cactus, yosú (Wayuunaiki) Mexico to Venezuela
Stenocereus gummosus (Engelm.) A. Gibson & K.E. Horak Sour pitaya, pitaya agria, ziix is ccapxl (Cmiique iitom) Baja California (Norte), Baja California Sur - Mexico
Stenocereus heptagonus (L.) Mottram Greater Antilles to Virgin Islands
Stenocereus huastecorum Alvarado-Sizzo northern Mexico
Stenocereus humilis (Britton & Rose) D.R.Hunt Central Colombia
Stenocereus kerberi (K. Schum.) A.C. Gibson & K.E. Horak Colima, Sinaloa - Mexico
Stenocereus martinezii (J.G. Ortega) Buxb. Pitahayo, Pitayo Sinaloa - Mexico
Stenocereus montanus (Britton & Rose) Buxb. Chihuahua, Colima, Jalisco, Nayarit, Sinaloa, Sonora - Mexico
Stenocereus pruinosus (Otto ex Pfeiff.) Buxb. Chiapas, Guerrero, Oaxaca, Puebla, Tamaulipas, Veracruz-Llave - Mexico
Stenocereus queretaroensis F.A.C.Weber ex Mathes.) Buxb. Colima, Guanajuato, Jalisco, Michoacan de Ocampo, Queretaro de Zaragoza - Mexico
Stenocereus quevedonis (J.G. Ortega) Buxb. Pitire Sinaloa - Mexico
Stenocereus standleyi (J.G. Ortega) Buxb. Pitaya Marismena Guerrero, Sinaloa - Mexico
Stenocereus stellatus (Pfeiff.) Riccob. Baja organ pipe cactus Oaxaca, Morelos, Puebla - Mexico
Stenocereus thurberi (Engelm.) Buxb. Organpipe cactus Baja California (Norte), Baja California Sur, Sinaloa, Sonora - Mexico, Arizona - United States
Stenocereus treleasei (Vaupel) Backeb. Tunillo Oaxaca - Mexico
Stenocereus yunckeri (Standl.) P.V. Heath Guatemala, Honduras
Stenocereus zopilotensis Arreola-Nava & Terrazas Mexico (Guerrero)


  1. ^ Felger & Moser (1985)
  2. ^ Kozak, David L. (2013). Inside Dazzling Mountains: Southwest Native Verbal Arts Native literatures of the Americas UPCC book collections on Project MUSE. U of Nebraska Press. pp. 48–49. ISBN 9780803240865.
  3. ^ a b Villalobos et al. (2007)


  • Anderson, Edward F. (2001): The Cactus Family [ISBN missing]
  • Felger, Richard & Moser, Mary B. (1985): People of the desert and sea: ethnobotany of the Seri Indians. University of Arizona Press, Tucson [ISBN missing]
  • Innes, C. & Wall, B. (1995): Cacti, Succulents and Bromaliads. Cassell & The Royal Horticultural Society.[ISBN missing]
  • Villalobos, Soraya; Vargas, Orlando & Melo, Sandra (2007): Uso, manejo y conservacion de "yosú", Stenocereus griseus (Cactaceae) en la Alta Guajira colombiana [Usage, Management and Conservation of yosú, Stenocereus griseus (Cactaceae), in the Upper Guajira, Colombia]. [Spanish with English abstract] Acta Biológica Colombiana 12(1): 99–112. PDF fulltext

External links[edit]