It is a very untypical Echinocereus that does not take on the usual
hedgehog shape. It is long and vine-like with slim, pendant sprawling
stems, usually tangled with many branches up to 250 cm long
rare in cultivation; it bears beautiful scarlet flowers definitely a
hanging basket job!
Echinocereus pensilis, (K. Brandegee) J.
Monatsxchr. Kakteenk. 18:5, 1908
This plant is more commonly known with it older name,
Morangaya pensilis, in praise of two well known American
collectors, Ed Gay and Reid Moran.
Origin: Mexico ( Cape region – the southern tip of Baja
California ), Helia Bravo-Hollis reports it from Nayarit and Jalisco)
TL: Mexico, Baja California Sur, Sierra de Laguna, T.S Brandegee 246,
Habitat: Grows in mountains and
Conservation status: Listed in
CITES appendix 2.
Common Names: Pitayita, Snake Cactus
- Cereus pensilis K. Brandegee 1904
In: Zoe, 5:192, 1904
- Morangaya pensilis (K. Brandegee) Rowley 1974
clumping, basally branching vine-like stems at first erect, but then
arching and prostrate or hanging, usually with aerial roots.
Stems: Cylindrical tapering toward the tips, up to 2 m long or
more, 2,5-4 cm in diameter.
Ribs: 8 to 10 low, rounded and tuberculate..
Areoles: 1-2 cm apart.
Spines: Yellow that turn reddish as they age needle-like; 1
central, 1-2.5 cm long; 6 to 10 radials more or less radiating, on young
areoles, older can have much more (as much as 70 or more).
Flowers: Orange or reddish at the stem tip or on older parts, 5-7
cm long, 4-5 cm in diameter, tubular to narrowly funnelform. The areoles
of the tube and ovary, with white or yellowish wool and chestnut
Blooming season: Flowers appear end of April to May.
Fruit: Globose to elongate, spiny, red with red pulp 1.5-2 cm in
Seed: Black, rugose, very oblique at base.
This cactus is rare in
cultivation, it is among the easiest species to grow, flower and
propagate. Indicated for
full sun exposure. Water regularly from March to October. Rot prone in
winter, it needs good drainage, It should be
kept in a cool place during winter rest (it
can briefly tolerate temp. as low as -7°C).
Without this cool winter period these plants normally won't get
many buds. Cascading,
clustering, great for a hanging display. Stems may possibly become
purple and limp in winter, but revitalize in early spring.