It is one of the most massive columnar, treelike cacti in the world,
often 7 to 15 m tall, The runk is short but very large often branching
within 0,5-3 m of the base with many massive branch. This very
spectacular species rivals the size and majesty of
Carnegia gigantea (Sahuaro)
Stem: Individual branches, deep green, closely set, ascending,
erect, relatively slender up to 12-18 cm in diameter.
Ribs: 10-12 acute.
Areoles: Up to 1 cm in diameter.
Spines: Few, sharp, rigid, white to grey.
Central spines: 1 or 2, well developed spreading to erect (or
slightly curved). 1 to 9 cm long.
Radial spines: 8-12 short, spreading.
In mature specimen the areoles bear only a dense tuft of bristly spines,
the longer one often 1-3 cm long.
Flowers: White with reddish brown exterior, showy with purplish
outer petals, 5 to 10 cm long, with a floral tube covered with dense
brown velvety wool. Tepals white, floral bracts 13-20 mm long.
Blooming season: Unlike other columnar cacti it may flower at any
time, even though late winter and spring is the most common. The flowers
are nocturnal, open in the evening and closing about midday.
Fruit: Red 6-7.5 cm in diameter splitting apart at maturity and
densely covered with 5 cm long, golden yellow spines. they are
relatively harm less and seldom penetrate the skin. The pulp is firm and
scarcely juicy. The developing fruit appears to form large golden
clusters on the arms, giving, the giant cacti an attractive appearance.
Seeds: Shining black, 4-5 mm long (the larger of all the columnar
Cultivation: It is a
fairly easy plant to grow. During the summer it is best to keep the
plants outside, where the temperature can rise to
over 30 C with no harm to the plant. Furnish good drainage and use a an
open and free draining mineral compost that allows therefore roots to
breath. They like only a short winter's rest, and should be kept almost
completely dry during the winter months. If the soil is allowed to be
dry for too long, root loss could follow but equally the same result
would occur if the plants were both wet and cold. From March onwards the
plant will begin to grow, and watering should be increased gradually
until late May, when the plant should be in full growth.
Water regularly during the summer, so long as the plant pot is allowed
to drain and not sit in a tray of water. During hot weather you may
need to water the plants more frequently, as long as the plant is
actively growing. From late September watering should be reduced, to
force the plant to go into a state of semi-dormancy. By October you
should be back in to the winter watering regime.
It needs full sun, avoiding only the harshest summer sun. If kept too
dark, plants may become overly lush and greener, and could be prone to
rot, due to over-watering.
Feeding may not be necessary at all if the compost is fresh. Then feed
in summer only if the plant hasn't been repotted recently. Do not feed
the plants from September onwards, as this can cause lush growth, which
can be fatal during the darker cold months. Grown specimens resist to
-4°C for a short time, but it is best to keep above 0° C to avoid ugly
spots on the plant's epidermis.
Propagation: Seed or
by stem cuttings from adult plants (but cuttings are difficult).
Pachycereus pecten-aboriginum is easy to grow from seeds. Sow seeds in
sandy soil. Do not cover the small seeds, but press gentle into the
earth. Keep seeds in constant moisture with temperatures of about 20
degrees C. In winter, the dormant period, plants should be watered very
carefully. In summer they may be watered more often.