Previous species
Previous Species

Next Species
Next Species

Home Page

Order CD-ROMs from the site

Tell a Friend

Gardening Books

Gardening Catalogs

 

Old Man Cactus, Old Man of Mexico, Cabeza de Viejo
Scientific Name: Cephalocereus senilis (Haw.) Pfeiff.
Synonym: Cactus senilis, Cereus senilis, Pilocereus senilis, Cephalophorus senilis, Cactus bradypus, Echinocactus staplesiae
Family: Cactaceae
Old Man Cactus, Old Man of Mexico, Cabeza de Viejo (Cephalocereus  senilis)
Cephalocereus senilis seedling
Recommended Temperature Zone:
sunset: 11-13,21-24
USDA: 9-10

Frost Tolerance: Hardy to 14F (-10C) for short periods

Minimum Avg. Temperature: 50F (10C)

Heat Tolerance: Prefers some afternoon shade in the low deserts

Sun Exposure: Full sun

Origin: Mexico (Hidalgo, Guanajuato)

Growth Habits: Slow growing to a large column, seldom ramified, 45 feet tall (11 m) by 18 inches (45 cm) in diameter; 12 to 30 ribs; 1 to 5 central spines, up to 2 inches long (5 cm); 20 to 30 hair-like laterals.

Watering Needs: Little to moderate water in summer, almost none in winter, very rot prone particularly when young, needs good drainage

Propagation: Seeds, cuttings


Most of the species from the Cephalocereus genus have been moved to Pilosocereus.

Cephalocereus senilis at the DBG

Cultural Practices:
In nature, the Cephalocereus reaches 2 feet tall in 20 years, it can be much faster with proper watering and fertilizing. To keep the cactus smaller, the top can be cut in spring, dried for 3 days, and replanted. It is possible to wash the white "hair" with diluted shampoo to keep it white.

Blooming Habits:
The pseudocephalium starts on the side of the stems when they reach 20 feet (6 m). The woolly hair can reach 8 inches or more (20 cm). Eventually the pseudocephalium will cover the top of the stem.
The 2-inch long whitish pink flowers (5 cm), open at night in April. They are followed by pinkish-red fruit, 0.8 to 1.2 inches long (2-3 cm) covered with yellowish hair.

Fruiting Habits:

Check for Field Collection numbers at Ralph Martin's Site


Sponsors:

www.springhillnursery.com Michigan Bulb - 120 x 60 Lawns Banner! Gurney's 120 x 60 A

We do get a small commission out of these sponsors that helps financing the website.  Let us know if you are satisfied or dissatisfied of their services, since obviously we are trying to advertise only for reputable garden supply companies.  They might be helpful to get plants not generally available at the local garden center, getting a new and unusual gardening tool or get a discount Better Homes and Gardens magazine subscription.

 

Desert Tropicals Home Page | List of All the Plants | More in the Cactaceae family | Tell your friends about this page

Desert-Tropicals is dedicated to provide gardening advice, gardening ideas, and information about flower of all kind for landscape and collections. We try to check carefully the identification of the plants on the illustrations as well as the other information from the page, but occasionally errors do occur. if you notice anything that needs to be changed please contact us. Thanks.

1998-2005 Philippe Faucon, All Rights Reserved.