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Stenocereus griseus - (Haw.) Buxb.

Common Name Cactaceae. Pitaya, Organpipe cactus
Family Cactaceae
USDA hardiness 10-12
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Tropical deciduous forest and xerophyllous scrub with Prosopis.
Range Northern S. America - Colombia, Venezuela to Trinidad and Tobago in the Caribbean.
Edibility Rating    (3 of 5)
Other Uses    (2 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (0 of 5)
Care (info)
Tender Well drained soil Full sun
Stenocereus griseus Cactaceae. Pitaya, Organpipe cactus

Wikimedia.org - Llez
Stenocereus griseus Cactaceae. Pitaya, Organpipe cactus
William M. Ciesla, Forest Health Management International, Bugwood.org


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Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of cone
Stenocereus griseus is an evergreen Tree growing to 7 m (23ft) by 3 m (9ft) at a medium rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 10. The flowers are pollinated by Bats.
It is noted for attracting wildlife.
Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. Suitable pH: neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils and can grow in very alkaline soils.
It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry soil and can tolerate drought.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Cereus clavatus Otto & A. Dietr. Cereus deficiens Otto & A. Dietr. Cereus eburneus Salm-Dyck Cereus griseus Haw. Lemaireocereus deficiens (Otto & A. Dietr.) Britton & Rose Lemaireocereus griseus (Haw.) Britton & Rose Ritterocereus deficiens (Otto & A. Dietr.) Backeb. Ritterocereus griseus (Haw.) Backeb. Stenocereus deficiens (Otto & A. Dietr.) Buxb.

Plant Habitats

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Fruit
Edible Uses: Drink

The fruits are edible and have a good taste[317 ]. A delicious flavour[46 ]. The fruits are around 5cm in diameter, spiny when immature[200 ]. Immature fruits have spines on them, but these are lost as the fruit ripens[423 ]. The pulp has the potential to be used in the production of wine and marmalade (J. Nassar pers. comm. 2011).

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

None known

References   More on Medicinal Uses

The Bookshop: Edible Plant Books

Our Latest books on Perennial Plants For Food Forests and Permaculture Gardens in paperback or digital formats.

Food Forest Plants for Hotter Conditions: 250+ Plants For Tropical Food Forests & Permaculture Gardens.
Edible Tropical Plants

Food Forest Plants for Hotter Conditions: 250+ Plants For Tropical Food Forests & Permaculture Gardens.

Plants for Your Food Forest: 500 Plants for Temperate Food Forests & Permaculture Gardens.
Edible Temperate Plants

Plants for Your Food Forest: 500 Plants for Temperate Food Forests & Permaculture Gardens.

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Other Uses

Fencing  Fertilizer

The wood is rich in potassium and is, therefore, used as a fertilizer[317 ]. Fruits have an ecological role consumed by invertebrates and reptiles, birds, bats, and flightless mammals.

Special Uses

Attracts Wildlife  Carbon Farming  Food Forest

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Agroforestry Services: Living fence  Management: Standard  Regional Crop

A plant of drier areas in the tropics and subtropics. Plants can only tolerate the lightest of frosts. Requires a sunny position and a well-drained soil[200 ]. Prefers a pH in the range 6 - 7.5[200 ]. Established plants are very drought tolerant[46 ]. The plant is subspontaneous and spontaneous after abandoned cultivation[317 ]. Grows in huge numbers in the dryer zones of the Caribbean Rim, where plants may reach 10 m in height and grow in dense thickets. It is so common as nearly to be a weed in the desert scrub of Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao of the Netherlands Antilles, where it grows both wild and cultivated. The plants are also commonly planted around homes and gardens and are tolerated on agricultural lands, meaning that plants are left when the vegetation is cleared for agriculture.

Carbon Farming

  • Agroforestry Services: Living fence  Simply managed rows of shrubs and trees.
  • Management: Standard  Plants grow to their standard height. Harvest fruit, seeds, or other products. Non-Destructive management systems.
  • Regional Crop  These crops have been domesticated and cultivated regionally but have not been adopted elsewhere and are typically not traded globally, Examples in this broad category include perennial cottons and many nuts and staple fruits.

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

Temperature Converter

Type a value in the Celsius field to convert the value to Fahrenheit:



The PFAF Bookshop

Plants For A Future have a number of books available in paperback and digital form. Book titles include Edible Plants, Edible Perennials, Edible Trees,Edible Shrubs, Woodland Gardening, and Temperate Food Forest Plants. Our new book is Food Forest Plants For Hotter Conditions (Tropical and Sub-Tropical).

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Plant Propagation

Seed - Cuttings

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Pitayo de mayo, Mexican organpipe cactus, Dagger cactus, Pitaya,

Central America, Colombia, Mexico, North America, South America, Trinidad and Tobago, Venezuela

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

None Known

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status : Status: Least Concern

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Stenocereus stellatusJoconostle cactus, Baja organ pipe cactusShrub2.0 9-11 MLMSNDM302

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


Expert comment


(Haw.) Buxb.

Botanical References

Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here
A special thanks to Ken Fern for some of the information used on this page.

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