PlantsPachycereus→Mexican Giant Cardon (Pachycereus pringlei)

Common names:
Give a thumbs up Mexican Giant Cardon
Give a thumbs up Cardon
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General Plant Information (Edit)
Plant Habit: Tree
Cactus/Succulent
Life cycle: Perennial
Sun Requirements: Full Sun
Water Preferences: Dry
Soil pH Preferences: Moderately acid (5.6 – 6.0)
Slightly acid (6.1 – 6.5)
Neutral (6.6 – 7.3)
Slightly alkaline (7.4 – 7.8)
Minimum cold hardiness: Zone 9a -6.7 °C (20 °F) to -3.9 °C (25 °F)
Plant Height: Up to 60 feet
Plant Spread: Up to 20 feet
Flower Color: White
Flower Time: Late spring or early summer
Underground structures: Taproot
Suitable Locations: Xeriscapic
Uses: Will Naturalize
Resistances: Drought tolerant
Pollinators: Bats
Birds
Various insects
Containers: Needs excellent drainage in pots
Miscellaneous: Tolerates poor soil
With thorns/spines/prickles/teeth
Conservation status: Least Concern (LC)

Conservation status:
Conservation status: Least Concern
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Comments:
Posted by Baja_Costero (Baja California - Zone 11b) on Apr 9, 2018 2:28 PM

Among the largest of all cacti, the giant cardón is one of the signature plants of Baja California. It is restricted to BC's slice of the Sonoran Desert, from San Matías and San Felipe south to the tip of the peninsula. In desert regions it is quite common, often growing alongside cirios (Fouquieria columnaris) and other cacti.

In nature the cardón is a slow-growing tree to 60 feet tall with branches. It dominates dry, rocky areas and can colonize pure rock by growing in decomposing granite or cracks in the rock. A hard core desert survivor like few others, it tolerates extended drought by drawing on water reserves in its succulent stems. The stems of these plants provide valuable protection and nesting locations to birds, which also eat the fruit.

In cultivation this plant requires strong light and excellent drainage. It can be a well behaved container plant for several years (at least a decade) before it begs to be put in the ground. Allow the soil to dry out at depth before watering and do not overwater in summer.

The cardón may be easily confused with the saguaro (Carnegiea gigantea), also a Sonoran Desert native, in cultivation. However, there are no saguaros in BC. The two plants can be resolved based on their flowers, their size (cardón more massive and highly branched), and the height of the first branches (cardón generally lower), among other more subtle features. It has been suggested based on DNA evidence that P. pringlei is an allopolyploid (2n=44) resulting from hybridization of P. pecten-aboriginum (2n=22) and Carnegiea (2n=22).

Young plants are extremely spiny but older plants (or at least their older stems) have less of a spiny look. Cardones are trioecious, meaning that separate individuals may make male flowers, female flowers, or bisexual flowers (or asexual flowers, in some cases).

The cardón is one parent of the rare natural hybrid xPacherocactus orcutti, along with the golden-spined Bergerocactus emoryi. The two only overlap in the region near El Rosario (Bergerocactus extends north from there, cardón extends south).

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Posted by Evegpt (Beautiful MS Gulf Coast - Zone 9a) on Jan 30, 2016 10:54 AM

WOW! I love that. I don't usually plant anything with thorns but I'd risk that. Just love it. How long before it gets 5ft? I'm not getting any younger.🕙

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Discussion Threads about this plant
Thread Title Last Reply Replies
Great shot! by Calif_Sue Jan 26, 2016 3:32 AM 2
"Stem, scape, stalk or bark" by Jai_Ganesha Jul 4, 2018 1:29 PM 14
Can anybody tell me more about my plants? by Fountain30 Aug 9, 2020 2:54 AM 24
What's your dream plant? by Smotzer Jul 5, 2020 4:59 PM 33
Cactus ID by kyry May 18, 2020 10:52 AM 12
Banner for May 14, 2020 by Baja_Costero by Baja_Costero May 14, 2020 10:16 PM 10
Blooming Saguaro by Kelli May 18, 2020 12:02 AM 27
The COVID_19 Picture Diversion thread by mcvansoest Jun 9, 2021 6:00 PM 2,172
Allotaxa by Baja_Costero Jan 31, 2020 4:09 PM 5
help needed for my giant cactus by Elvirasplants Aug 25, 2019 11:39 AM 2
Cacti ID please by Klara333 Aug 5, 2019 12:49 PM 7
Is my cactus healthy? by coolmom1016 Aug 2, 2019 5:52 AM 8

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