Cacti have captured the imagination of plant enthusiasts and desert wanderers alike with their spiky exteriors and striking appearances. Among the various species of cacti, some stand out for their impressive size, adding an element of grandeur to the already captivating world of succulents. Here are some of the most remarkable large cactus species in this article that inhabit different parts of the world.
#1. Saguaro Cactus (Carnegiea gigantea)
The Saguaro cactus, native to the Sonoran Desert, which is far from the southwestern United States, near northwestern Mexico, is an icon of the desert landscape. It is one of the largest cacti species, capable of reaching heights of up to 40 feet (12 meters). This towering cactus features distinctive “arms” that branch out from its main trunk, often providing perches for birds and other desert creatures.
#2. Cardón Cactus (Pachycereus pringlei)
The Cardón cactus, also known as the Elephant Cactus, is native to the Baja California Peninsula in Mexico. It is considered the tallest cactus species in the world, with heights reaching up to 60 feet (18 meters). The Cardón’s massive cylindrical stem is adorned with sharp spines and beautiful white flowers, making it a breathtaking sight in the desert landscape.
#3. Organ Pipe Cactus (Stenocereus thurberi)
Named for resembling a pipe organ, the Organ Pipe cactus is found in the deserts of the southwestern United States and northwestern Mexico. This cactus can reach heights of up to 20 feet (6 meters) and features multiple stems that grow in a branching pattern. Its beautiful pinkish-white flowers bloom at night, attracting nocturnal pollinators.
#4. Giant Saguaro (Cereus giganteus)
The Giant Saguaro, also known as the Mexican Giant Cardon, is found in the deserts of Mexico and the southwestern United States. It closely resembles the Saguaro cactus but with fewer arms. With a height of ~ 60 feet (18 meters), it is one of the tallest cacti species in the world. The Giant Saguaro has a slow growth rate and can live for over 150 years.
#5. The Arizona Queen of the Night (Cereus greggii)
The Arizona Queen of the Night, also called the Night-blooming Cereus, is a fascinating cactus species known for its stunning nocturnal blooms. This cactus has slender stems that can grow up to 20 feet (6 meters) long and produce large white flowers that open only at night, releasing a sweet fragrance to attract pollinators.
#6. The Old Man Cactus (Cephalocereus senilis)
The Saguaro Grande, also known as the Old Man of Mexico, is a towering cactus species native to central Mexico. It can grow up to 50 feet (15 meters) tall and is recognized by its shaggy white appearance caused by long white hairs covering its cylindrical stem. This unique feature gives it a distinct, almost whimsical appearance.
#7. Peruvian Apple Cactus (Cereus repandus)
The Peruvian Apple Cactus, also called the Hedge Cactus or Giant Club Cactus, is a large cactus species found in the Andean regions of South America. This cactus can be as tall as 30 feet (9 meters), and features ribbed stems with large, spiny areoles clusters. As the name suggests, this cactus produces edible fruits that resemble apples and are enjoyed by both humans and wildlife.
#8. Totem Pole Cactus (Pachycereus schottii ‘Monstrosus’)
The Totem Pole Cactus is a striking and unusual cultivar of the Senita Cactus (Pachycereus schottii). Native to the Sonoran Desert in Mexico, this cactus lacks the typical branching arms seen in other giant cacti. Instead, it grows as a single columnar stem, reaching heights of ~ 20 feet (6 meters). Its smooth green skin lacks spines, giving it a sleek and minimalist appearance.
#9. San Pedro Cactus (Echinopsis pachanoi)
The San Pedro Cactus, also known as the Wachuma or Huachuma, is a columnar cactus native to the Andean region of South America. The San Pedro Cactus is characterized by its bright green color, numerous ridges, and white or yellow spines clusters. It can grow up as tall as the Totem pole cactus, which is 20 feet (6 meters) tall. Moreover, this plant has a long history of ceremonial and medicinal use by indigenous cultures.
#10. Organ Mountains Pincushion Cactus (Escobaria organensis)
The Organ Mountains Pincushion Cactus is a rare and endangered species endemic to the Organ Mountains of New Mexico, USA. It is a small-to-medium-sized cactus that forms low clumps or solitary mounds. This cactus is notable for its vibrant pink to purple flowers that bloom in late spring, adding a splash of color to the arid landscape.
You have just seen a few examples of the awe-inspiring giant cacti in our world. Each species has adapted to survive in harsh and dry environments, showcasing their resilience and beauty. When encountering these magnificent cacti, it is essential to appreciate their natural habitats and conserve these fragile ecosystems. So, whether you have the opportunity to explore the deserts firsthand or marvel at them from afar, the grandeur of these giant cacti is sure to leave a lasting impression.
Hey everyone! Welcome to Succulent City! We are all about succulents, cacti, and a bit about air plants. Ten years back, in 2013, we began the journey with succulents. It started as a simple hobby, crafting and selling charming succulent-themed pins and decorations. But as time passed, our fascination with these remarkable plants grew, and we gained extensive knowledge about them. Therefore, Succulent City is the blog as you see it is now. Enjoy your visit and happly planting!