Woolly Torch, Cabeza de Viejo, Old Man Cactus, Old Man of Mexico, Órgano, Pitayón, Tuno

Pilosocereus leucocephalus

Family: Cactaceae (kak-TAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Pilosocereus (pil-oh-so-KER-ee-us) (Info)
Species: leucocephalus
Synonym:Pilosocereus sartorianus
Synonym:Pilosocereus cometes
Synonym:Pilosocereus maxonii
Synonym:Cephalocereus maxonii
Synonym:Cephalocereus leucocephalus


Cactus and Succulents

Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Where to Grow:

Suitable for growing in containers


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)


24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

36-48 in. (90-120 cm)

4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)


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

Sun to Partial Shade


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

Bloom Color:

Pale Pink

Bloom Time:

Mid Summer


Unknown - Tell us

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

From woody stem cuttings

From softwood 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

Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored


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

Phoenix, Arizona

Henderson, Nevada

Gardeners' Notes:


On Sep 15, 2006, Xenomorf from Valley of the Sun, AZ (Zone 9b) wrote:

More synonyms of this plant are Cephalocereus sartorianus, Pilosocereus tehuacanus, Cephalocereus cometes, Pilocereus leucocephalus, Pilocereus tehuacanus, Cereus sartorianus, Cephalocereus tehuacanus, Cereus tehuacanus, Cereus victoriensis, Pilosocereus palmeri var. victoriensis, Pilocereus sartorianus, Cereus leucocephalus, Pilocereus maxonii, Cereus cometes, Pilocereus flavicomus, Pilocereus jubatus & Cereus maxonii.


On Jan 18, 2005, cacti_lover from Henderson, NV (Zone 9b) wrote:

This cactus has a blueish coloring and can reach 20' tall. My 6' tall plant already started blooming during the summer. The fat pink flowers are 2" across and they stink of rotten onion. The flowers grow out of the areas that have much more wool the the rest of the plant. This plant needs protection from frost.