Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Mexican Organ Pipe, Pitayo de Mayo
Stenocereus griseus

Family: Cactaceae (kak-TAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Stenocereus (sten-oh-KER-ee-us) (Info)
Species: griseus (GREE-see-us) (Info)

Synonym:Cereus griseus
Synonym:Lemaireocereus griseus
Synonym:Ritterocereus griseus
Synonym:Rathbunia grisea

5 members have or want this plant for trade.

Edible Fruits and Nuts
Cactus and Succulents

4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)
6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)
8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)
10-12 ft. (3-3.6 m)
12-15 ft. (3.6-4.7 m)
15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)
20-30 ft. (6-9 m)

15-18 in. (38-45 cm)
18-24 in. (45-60 cm)
24-36 in. (60-90 cm)
36-48 in. (90-120 cm)
4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)
6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)
8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun

Plant has spines or sharp edges; use extreme caution when handling

Bloom Color:
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Late Summer/Early Fall


Other details:
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From herbaceous stem cuttings
From woody stem cuttings
From softwood cuttings
From semi-hardwood cuttings
Allow cut surface to callous over before planting

Seed Collecting:
Allow unblemished fruit to ripen; clean and dry seeds
Unblemished fruit must be significantly overripe before harvesting seed; clean and dry seeds

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By palmbob
Thumbnail #1 of Stenocereus griseus by palmbob

By Xenomorf
Thumbnail #2 of Stenocereus griseus by Xenomorf

By Xenomorf
Thumbnail #3 of Stenocereus griseus by Xenomorf

By Xenomorf
Thumbnail #4 of Stenocereus griseus by Xenomorf

By cactus_lover
Thumbnail #5 of Stenocereus griseus by cactus_lover

By Xenomorf
Thumbnail #6 of Stenocereus griseus by Xenomorf

By Xenomorf
Thumbnail #7 of Stenocereus griseus by Xenomorf

There are a total of 15 photos.
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3 positives
No neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive real_americana On Aug 8, 2013, real_americana from San Diego, CA (Zone 10b) wrote:

(I would like to grow these for the fruit in San Diego, CA, but do not know if the environment is suitable). Anyway I found two interesting videos on youtube and a research paper about nutrition. The videos are in Spanish, but even if you don't know the language the pictures are amazing. YouTube, "Techaluta, la cuna de la pitaya", and YouTube, "Conozca las pitayas de Techaluta". These titles are, "Techaluta the cradle of the pitaya", and "Getting to know the pitayas of Techaluta". The first begins in the orchard and ends with preparing the fruit for market. The second video is set in the market. Techaluta is in Jalisco, and they take the fruit to market in Guadalajara, 53 miles away. The farmer explains that the orchard was initiated by his father, and now owned by his uncle. Most plants are between 7 and 20 years old. New plants are propagated from an "arm" of an established plant. He walks throught the tall orchard filled with fruit with a long pole (carrizo) that has a hook with 4 spikes for picking the fruit. This looks like a very elegant solution. Work begins before dawn, 2 or 3 am, so that the product is to market by 8 am. The men harvest the fruit. The women clean the spines from the fruit with knives. They have certainly perfected the technique of de-spining. The fruit is graded by size: small, medium and large. And it ranges in color from red-violet, red, orange, pink, yellow, and some white. The fruit is packed in baskets using alfalfa as a packing material to protect the fruit and to keep it cool. At the market the woman explains that in addition to the fruit the mature dried flower also is used. This is boiled in water to make a tea that she says helps to control blood sugar, reduce blood pressure and reduce cholesterol. Finally, the reporter eats a fruit. Check out the technique. The skin is cut and peeled back from the center of the top of the fruit and peeled back in triangular pieces so that it looks like an open flower with a juicy spherical fruit in the center. The first video was produced by "Grupo Reforma", Angel Llamas. The second video was for the news, "Azteca Noticias". (I couldn't make out the reporter's name). Finally, it looks like this fruit has lots of healthy antioxidants, especially betalains. A study compared the red fruit with an orange fruit and the red fruit was higher in antioxidants. [From BETALAINS, PHENOLIC COMPOUNDS AND ANTIOXIDANT ACTIVITY IN
PITAYA DE MAYO (Stenocereus griseus H.)
Leticia Garca-Cruz, Yolanda Salinas-Moreno, and Salvador Valle-Guadarrama].

Positive Xenomorf On Feb 9, 2005, Xenomorf from Valley of the Sun, AZ (Zone 9b) wrote:

This cactus eventually forms a trunk with much age and reaches 20-30 feet high. The younger plants have many more spines. It blooms at night and the flowers stay open until midday. (another night blooming Cereus -aka Ceroid)
This plant is grown for it's fruit.

Other synonyms are: Cereus erbuneus, Cereus deficiens, Lemaireocereus deficiens, Lemaireocereus eburneus, Ritterocereus deficiens, Rathbunia deficiens, Stenocereus eburneus, Stenocereus deficiens, Stenocereus victoriensis & Neolemaireocereus griseus

Note: The synonym 'Lemaireocereus pruinosis' is not a synonym of this species. Instead, it is actually a synonym of Stenocereus pruinosus which is a different species entirely.

Positive palmbob On Sep 13, 2004, palmbob from Acton, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:

tall columnar Venezualan and Mexican cactus growing up to 30' tall. Many synonyms


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Phoenix, Arizona (2 reports)
Scottsdale, Arizona
Tucson, Arizona
Merced, California

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