Prime destination for lovers and growers of cacti and other succulent plants

Pachycereus schottii – Senita Cactus


Scientific Name

Pachycereus schottii (Engelm.) D.R.Hunt

Common Names

Senita Cactus, Whisker Cactus, Old Man Cactus, Totem Pole Cactus


Lophocereus schottii, Lophocereus schottii var. schottii, Cereus mieckleyanus, Cereus palmeri, Cereus sargentianus, Cereus schottii, Lemaireocereus mieckleyanus, Lophocereus australis, Lophocereus mieckleyanus, Lophocereus sargentianus, Pachycereus australis, Pilocereus sargentianus

Scientific Classification

Family: Cactaceae
Subfamily: Cactoideae
Tribe: Pachycereeae
Genus: Pachycereus


Pachycereus schottii is a slow-growing usually trunkless cactus that forms numerous tall, ascending, columnar stems which branch mostly at or near the base in a candelabra-like arrangement. Stems are up to 13.1 feet (4 m) tall, up to 6.2 inches (16 cm) in diameter, grey-green with a waxy bloom on the surface. Ribs in young stems are fewer 5-6 (rarely 7) and widely-spaced, ribs in the upper thinner portion of the stem increase in number to 6-8. One of the most distinguishing features is that the tips of the mature, taller stems are covered with about twenty sharp long, hairlike, strongly twisted grey bristles up to 4 inches (10 cm) long. In contrast to the long spines at the tips of mature stems, the young plants have only about five short conical spines up to 0.3 inch (8 mm) long. Flowers are nocturnal, open at dusk and continue until early morning when the sun burns them out, but on cool days sometimes remaining open part of the day. They are up to 2 inches (5 cm) long, up to 1.8 inches (4.5 cm) wide, greenish-white on the underside and pinkish-white inside. The edible fruits are rounded, up to 1.6 inches (4 cm) in diameter, as red as ripe strawberries (with a red pulp), spineless or nearly so and are seldom seen.

Pachycereus schottii - Senita Cactus

Photo via

How to Grow and Care

These extraordinarily low-maintenance plants can basically grow untouched for decades, so there’s really not a lot you need to worry about. Obviously it’s very important that they receive adequate sun and heat, and be careful around their spines. If grown in containers, make sure that they’re being repotted and that their soil isn’t too moist. Other than that, these plants are about as simple and hands-off as it gets.

Inapplicable to most scenarios in which Pachycereus would be grown. If you do choose to cultivate a small specimen of Pachycereus pringlei in a container, repotting it can be helpful: if so, repot it as you would any other cactus, by removing it from the pot, cutting away any dead material from the roots, and replanting… – See more at: How to Grow and Care for Pachycereus.


It is a species of cactus from southern Arizona and north-western Mexico, particularly Baja California and Sonora.


BACK TO genus Pachycereus
SUCCULENTOPEDIA: Browse succulents by GenusFamilyScientific NameCommon NameOrigin, or cacti by Genus

Photo Gallery

Subscribe to Receive News and Updates from World of Succulents: