The Senita cactus is a rare, tall cactus (like the Organ Pipe and Saguaro). Growing to 10 to 20 feet tall, it has restricted distribution and is quite rare in Arizona. Usually being found in the sandy desert, they are not able to tolerate even the slightest frost. This cactus is found in just a few locations close to the Mexican border within Organ Pipe National Monument. It is more abundant in Sonora, Mexico, where it doesn’t experience any frost.
Depending on the variety, the spines can be short or longer in length. The cacti typically grow in clusters. They can reach up to 15 feet in diameter. With as many as 100 hexagonal and waxy looking stems per cluster, they branch upward from ground level. Each column has approx. 6 widely-spaced ribs. It produces quite large, pinkish-white flowers, with about 3 cm in diameter edible, red spherical fruit.
Another variant of the Senita cactus is actually the Totem Pole Cactus. Typically spineless and also not frost-tolerant the Totem Pole Cactus is native to Baja California. There are also some very rare and beautiful genetically stable variant forms, called “monstrose” forms. These forms have raised tuber-like swellings along the stems and have few if any spines. These intriguing, beautiful variants are interestingly sterile, and they can be seen naturally occurring in several wild populations in Baja California.
Please take the time to check out our other cacti options we offer here at Envirogreen Landscape Design-Build.