Etymology -From the Greek word kephale, meaning head and the Latin word cereus, meaning a wax taper (candle).
Cephalocereus is not an especially fast growing genus and the plants are large columnar species up to nearly 50 feet (15m). Despite this, at least on of the species, C. senilis is especially popular in cultivation because of the very distinct long white hair that makes smaller plants look like "Cousin It" from The Adams Family. The other species are almost unknown in cultivation and still have wool or hair, but not nearly as prominent as C. senilis. Flowers are produced in lateral cephalium, hence the name. All 6 species currently recognized in this genus grow in southern Mexico.