Old Man of Mexico (Cephalocereus senilis)

Common names:
Give a thumbs up Old Man of Mexico
Give a thumbs up Old Man Cactus
Give a thumbs up Viejo
Give a thumbs up White Persian Cat Cactus

General Plant Information (Edit)
Plant Habit: Cactus/Succulent
Life cycle: Perennial
Sun Requirements: Full Sun
Water Preferences: Dry Mesic
Minimum cold hardiness: Zone 9b -3.9 °C (25 °F) to -1.1 °C (30 °F)
Plant Height: Up to 15-40 feet
Fruit: Showy
Flowers: Showy
Flower Color: Pink
Bloom Size: 2"-3"
Flower Time: Summer
Underground structures: Taproot
Suitable Locations: Xeriscapic
Resistances: Drought tolerant
Propagation: Other methods: Cuttings: Tip
Other: Allow cutting end to callous over before planting.
Containers: Needs excellent drainage in pots
Miscellaneous: Tolerates poor soil
With thorns/spines/prickles/teeth
Conservation status: Endangered (EN)

Conservation status:
Conservation status: Endangered

Photo gallery:
Date: 2011-09-24
By Lucichar
Give a thumbs up
Location: My garden - grafted onto MyrtillocactusDate: 2018-09-09(T) cehpalocerus senilis (b) Myrtillocactus
By Maryl
Give a thumbs up
Date: 2019-01-01
By Fleur569
Give a thumbs up
Location: Biltmore, Asheville, NCDate: 2014-03-02
By bob
Give a thumbs up
Location: Blondmyk's Backyard, Corpus Christi, TXDate: 2014-09-02Photo of My "Old Man of Mexico" cactus sitting next to the pot I
By Blondmyk
Give a thumbs up
By ljones26
Give a thumbs up

This plant is tagged in:

Posted by Baja_Costero (Baja California - Zone 11b) on Sep 3, 2019 6:16 PM

The Old Man of Mexico is a popular columnar cactus from central Mexico with abundant white hair to 16-50 feet tall (but relatively slow growing and usually only a small fraction that size in cultivation). 20-30 ribs, 1-5 (often 3) stout central spines, 20-30 hairlike radial spines. The flowers are large, yellowish pink, and nocturnal. The seed is black and relatively large. Like other members of the genus, this plant develops a pseudocephalium at the top, first on one side of the stem and later all sides, with dense white hairs that are twice the length of the usual ones. The flowers and fruit are borne from this area. Branching occurs at the base, when present. The hair tends to be lost from older parts of the stem as the plant ages, revealing the green stem underneath.

This cactus is relatively fast to get started from seed, but slow growing in cultivation. Provide excellent drainage and strong light, which will favor the development of thicker, more radiant hair.

This is the type species of a relatively small genus as it currently stands (the CoL currently recognizes 3 species). Cephalocereus has a confusing history of association with other genera, including Neobuxbaumia, Pachycereus, Pilosocereus (formerly Pilocereus), and others. At one point (in 1986) it consisted of a single species (senilis). The genus includes relatively tall columnar cacti with white to pale yellow, pink, or yellowish pink flowers borne on a pseudocephalium, and it occurs in central and southern Mexico.

[ Reply to this comment | Give a thumbs up ]

Plant Events from our members
Blondmyk On October 9, 2014 Transplanted
Transplanted to larger pot using 6" pot and Miracle Gro Cactus, Palm and Citrus soil mix with extra Perlite added for extra drainage. Current plant height is 7.25" and the plant has grown approx. 3" total during the Spring and Summer of 2014.
» Post your own event for this plant

Discussion Threads about this plant
Thread Title Last Reply Replies
Old Man Of Mexico by Franawanna Oct 7, 2014 10:36 AM 3
Thats....quite the hoard! by skopjecollection Dec 10, 2018 2:37 PM 4
Additional information on this photo Cephalocerus by Maryl Sep 14, 2019 4:51 PM 0
I suspect this is not C. senilis but most likely Cleistocactus strausii by mcvansoest Oct 5, 2019 5:01 AM 3
Secret Santa ID Help by Wallknocker Feb 17, 2020 4:16 AM 19
Help w cactus by RS1999ent Dec 27, 2019 8:26 PM 13
Pruinosity on poloskia chichipe by Crazycactiguy Dec 10, 2018 8:50 PM 7
Looking for some specific columnar seeds by Crazycactiguy Dec 2, 2018 11:45 AM 9
How to get cactus to bloom? by Philipwonel May 24, 2018 5:43 PM 81
Cactus and succulents chat by Baja_Costero Dec 3, 2020 5:11 PM 9,075
New Plant Finds Today, A Few IDs Needed Also! (: by ljones26 Aug 18, 2017 4:58 PM 16
Tender Succulents Chat and Photos by valleylynn Feb 26, 2019 4:38 PM 908

« Add a new plant to the database

« The Plants Database Front Page

Today's site banner is by arctangent and is called "Landscaping with grasses"

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.