Cephalocereus senilis

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Cephalocereus senilis
Scientific classification
Kingdom:Plantae
(unranked):Angiosperms
(unranked):Eudicots
(unranked):Core eudicots
Order:Caryophyllales
Family:Cactaceae
Tribe:Pachycereeae
Genus:Cephalocereus
Species:C. senilis
Binomial name
Cephalocereus senilis
(Haw.) Pfeiff.
 
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Cephalocereus senilis
Scientific classification
Kingdom:Plantae
(unranked):Angiosperms
(unranked):Eudicots
(unranked):Core eudicots
Order:Caryophyllales
Family:Cactaceae
Tribe:Pachycereeae
Genus:Cephalocereus
Species:C. senilis
Binomial name
Cephalocereus senilis
(Haw.) Pfeiff.

Cephalocereus senilis (Old Man Cactus) is a species of cactus native to Guanajuato and Hidalgo in eastern Mexico. It is threatened in the wild, but widespread propagation and popularity in cultivation have reduced the demand on wild populations.

It is a tall columnar species with clusters of stems, growing to 5–15 m tall; the individual stems are usually unbranched, being unable to withstand the weight of side branches easily (Mauseth Research). The most striking feature is the long, white hairs it possesses, which serve to protect it from the sun. The coat of hair makes many plants appear almost snow-white (however, the hairs conceal numerous sharp yellow spines). It is in reference to the shaggy white coat that the popular name 'Old Man Cactus' developed[citation needed]. At the young stage the cactus has silvery-white hairs, which are later lost as the plant grows.

The flowers are red, yellow, or white, though it may not flower until 10–20 years old.

Cultivation

Cephalocereus senilis is a very popular cactus in cultivation, grown for its woolly appearance. It prefers a very well-drained soil mix (more so than many other cacti), and lots of bright sunlight, which encourages growth of the hair.

References and external links