solitary, forms white columns. All the plant in habitats lean markedly
northward toward the sun following the direction of predominant wind,
leading to the illusion that the entire landscape is tilted, This
behaviour has been explained as a tactic by which the cactus minimizes
the surface area exposed to the direct rays of sun. Thus the sun hits
the woolly bent-over top of the cactus at an 90° angle, with the long
trunk receiving only indirect sun.
This species is more decorative than
C. cinerea and one of the showiest of all cacti.
Note: This appears to be a very variable species.
Stem: Variable 50-75 cm tall, 10-20 cm in diameter, epidermis
covered with a thick stratum of ashy-white pruine (it is often more
white than the
C. cinerea). Apex flattened with abundant yellow-orange or
grey wool and without spines.
Ribs: 27-47, depressed, obtuse and tuberculated, approx 1 cm
wide, 5-7 mm tall. Inter-ribs suture wavy.
Areoles: Small (diameter 2-3 mm), oblong, with yellow-orange wool
(later becoming grey) recessed within the lower part of tubercle, 4-8 mm
Central spines: 1-3 sub-erected, strong, up to1-2 cm long, black,
brown or amber-yellow (never grey). Often the young plants are
Radial spines: 4-5 thin and arching, 5-8 mm long. Normally not
present in adult specimen.
Roots: Not napiform.
Flowers: Apical, funnel form, small (2-3 cm long), yellow,
scentless. Tube 7-15 mm long, pale-yellow with few thin, red tipped
scales. Nectar chamber up to 4 wide, 2 mm deep and open. Lower filaments
15-18 mm long inserted at the base of the nectar chamber, upper
filaments up to 10 mm long on the wall of the tube. Filaments and
anthers pale yellow. Style up to 2 cm long not surpassing the stamens,
stigma lobes 10, golden-yellow. 7 - 14 tepals, 10-12 mm long, 3-5 mm
broad rounded, pale yellow, not tinged in red.
Fruit: Deeply concealed within the apical wool, 7-10 mm in
diameter, round or egg-shaped, pale green reddening toward the apex,
almost naked with only few (3-4 mm long) scales. Almost completely dry
at maturity, deihscence capsular (less pulpy than in
Seeds: Shining-black. 1,2 mm long, 0,6 mm large, 0,5 mm thick.
Covered with very fine flattened tubercles, hilum oval white.