December 2010 Cephalocereus senilis

A more in depth look at individual cactus species, a new one is added each month -managed by Hob
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December 2010 Cephalocereus senilis

Post by hob »

Cephalocereus senilis (Haworth) Pfeiffer
Cephalocereus senilis.JPG
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Growth Habits: Slow growing columnar cactus rarely if ever branching because the soft stems cannot support the weight of branches.
Plants can reach 10 to 15 metres tall (30 to 50 feet) growing in clusters in the wild.

Scientific name: Cephalocereus senilis.

Common names: Old Man Cactus, Old Man of Mexico.

Synonym: Cactus senilis, Cereus senilis, Pilocereus senilis, Cephalophorus senilis, Cactus bradypus, Echinocactus staplesiae.

Etymology: Cephalocereus. From the Greek word kephale, meaning head and the Latin word cereus, meaning a wax taper (candle).
senilis. A Latin word meaning like an old or aged man.

Origin: Guanajuato, Hidalgo - Mexico

Light: Full sun to encourage the hair to grow.

Compost: A free draining cactus mix,with more added grit than usual for better drainage.

Water: Regular water in spring to autumn allowing soil to dry between waterings, keep dry in winter, young plants are very prone to rot.

Flower: Whitish pink, night flowering.

Min temp: Hardy to -10°C (14°f) for short periods.


Comments. Plants are grown for their hairy appearance, they will not be expected to flower in cultivation as flowers come from a lateral cephalium that does not form until the plant is 6m (20 feet) tall.
mature flowering Plants in the wild are thought to be over 200 years old.
Don't be fooled by the hair, under that are some really sharp spines.

top view
close up of the hairs
large plant at DBG image Daiv Freeman.
close up image of a large stem, image by Juergen Menzel