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STENOCEREUS griseus

Image of Stenocereus griseus

James H. Schutte

Family

Cactaceae

Botanical Name

STENOCEREUS griseus

Plant Common Name

Pitayo De Mayo

Special Notice

This entry has yet to be reviewed and approved by L2G editors.

General Description

This cactus is widely used as a rootstock for grafting as well as a food source in Latin America. It is native to coastal Venezuela and the many coastal islands, it is drought resistant but performs best where there is a moderating maritime influence. Due to its edible fruit the species was introduced early on into Mexico where it has become widely naturalized. This is a tree like columnar cactus that may produce one or more trunks from which branching stems arise. Each is light green to pale blue green with 6 to 10 ribs, each lined with areoles beneath which there will be a slight bulge giving them a slight zig-zag look. The areoles produce 1 to 3 central spines surrounded by 6 to 11 radial spines.

This is a night blooming cactus with flowers that remain open well into the following day. This maximizes the chance of pollination from bats and moths as well as hummingbirds and bees. Each very open funnel shaped blossom is creamy white with a very distinctive corolla of stamens at the center. Following the flowers are very large red fruits the size of a small apple. The outer skin is spineless with internal flesh snow white and dotted with tiny black edible seeds. The fruit is sold in local farmer’s markets in Latin America. This cactus may be grown in pots indoors and out provided the potting soil is sufficiently porous and well drained. It is an ideal candidate for Southwestern gardens both in coastal and sheltered inland locations, but it may not fare well in the extremes of the low desert climate.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 10

  • Plant Type

    Cactus or Succulent

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun

  • Height

    20'-30' / 6.1m - 9.1m

  • Width

    10'-20' / 3.0m - 6.1m

  • Native To

    South America

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral, Alkaline

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Tolerances

    Drought

  • Growth Rate

    Slow

  • Habit

    Upright/Erect

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    Yes

  • Edible Fruit

    Yes

  • Showy Foliage

    No

  • Evergreen

    Yes

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Container, Fruit / Fruit Tree, Houseplant, Rock Garden / Wall

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    Yes

  • Invasive

    No

  • Self-Sowing

    No