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Senita, Whisker Cactus
Scientific Name: Pachycereus schottii (Engelm.) D.R. Hunt
Synonym: Lophocereus sargentianus, Lophocereus schottii, Lophocereus schottii var. sargentianus, Lophocereus schottii var. tenuis, Pilocereus sargentianus, Cereus sargentianus, Pachycereus schottii, Pachycereus schottii var. tenuis, Cereus schottii var. australis, Lophocereus schottii var. australis, Lophocereus australis, Pilocereus schottii, Lophocereus schottii, Cereus schottii, Pachycereus schottii, Cereus mieckleyanus
Family: Cactaceae
Senita, Whisker Cactus (Pachycereus  schottii) Recommended Temperature Zone:
USDA: 9-10

Frost Tolerance: 15F (-9C) for Arizona clones, but the growing tips need protection. The monstrose form is more frost sensitive and should not be at less than 25F (-4C)

Heat Tolerance: Resistant in Phoenix

Sun Exposure: Full sun

Origin: Southwest USA (Arizona), northwestern Mexico (Baja California, Sonora)

Growth Habits: Columnar, basally branching, slow growing up to 12 feet tall (3.6 m). Stems 4 to 8 inches in diameter (10 to 20 cm); 5 to 10 ribs; areoles on the bottom part of the stems are woolly, oval, 0.12 to 0.2 inch wide (3-5 mm), with one to 15 spines, 0.1 to 0.3 inch long; upper areoles 0.3 to 0.6 inch wide (7-15 mm), 20 to 75 spines , 1.2 to 4 inches long (3-10 cm).

Watering Needs: Little to no water for established specimen when used in landscape. Specimens in the wild receive both winter and late summer rain.

Propagation: Cuttings in summer, offsets, seeds


The form 'Monstrosus' also described as 'forma mieckleyanus' for the thinner types or 'fa obesa' for the thicker more tubercled types is native to Baja California. Its strange, mostly spineless shape (picture 2) can be very attractive for landscape use. It is also less frost resistant, and should be protected below 25F (-4C)

Pachycereus schottii 'Monstrose'

Senita, Whisker Cactus (Pachycereus  schottii)

Blooming Habits:
The senita blooms at night at the end of the spring in the 'hairy' part of the stems. The flowers are light pink, up to 1.6 inches in diameter (4 cm). They close around mid-morning. The Senita blooms most of the year, mainly from April to September. The edible fruit is red, with a red pulp.

Fruiting Habits:

Check for Field Collection numbers at Ralph Martin's Site


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Desert-Tropicals is dedicated to provide gardening advice, gardening ideas, and information about flower of all kind for landscape and collections. We try to check carefully the identification of the plants on the illustrations as well as the other information from the page, but occasionally errors do occur. if you notice anything that needs to be changed please contact us. Thanks.

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