Hellenica World

Pachycereus pringlei

Pachycereus pringlei, Photo: Michael Lahanas

Cladus: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Divisio: Magnoliophyta
Classis: Magnoliopsida
Ordo: Caryophyllales
Familia: Cactaceae
Subfamilia: Cactoideae
Tribus: Pachycereeae
Genus: Pachycereus
Species: Pachycereus pringlei

Pachycereus pringlei (*)

Name

Pachycereus pringlei (S.Watson) Britton & Rose

References

* Contributions from the United States National Herbarium. Smithsonian Institution 12:422. 1909
* USDA, ARS, National Genetic Resources Program. Germplasm Resources Information Network - (GRIN) [Data from 07-Oct-06]. 417540

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Pachycereus pringlei (Cardón) is a species of cactus, native to northwestern Mexico in the states of Baja California, Baja California Sur, and Sonora.

It is the tallest cactus species in the world, with a maximum recorded height of 19.2 meters (62.9 feet),[1] with a stout trunk up to 1 m diameter bearing several erect branches. In overall appearance, it resembles the related Carnegiea gigantea (Saguaro), but differs in the fewer ribs on the stems, in being more heavily branched from near to the base of the stem, and in the location of the blossoms.

Large stands of these magnificent cactus still exist, but many have been destroyed as fields have been cleared for cultivation in Sonora.

The fruit of this cactus was an important food for the Seri people in Sonora, who call the cactus xaasj.[2]

The flesh of this cactus contains alkaloids, and may have been used as a psychoactive plant in Mexico.[3]

A symbiotic relationship with baterial and fungal colonies on its roots allows P. pringlei to grow on bare rock even where there is no soil available at all, as the bacteria can fix nitrogen from the air and break down the rock to produce nutrients. The cactus even packages symbiotic bacteria in with its seeds.[4][5][6]

References

1. ^ Salak, M.. "In search of the tallest cactus". Cactus and Succulent Journal 72 (3).
2. ^ *Felger, Richard; Mary B. Moser. (1985). People of the desert and sea: ethnobotany of the Seri Indians. Tucson: University of Arizona Press. ISBN 0816508186.
3. ^ Brown, Ethan (September 2002). "Professor X". Wired Magazine. http://mdma.net/alexander-shulgin/professor-x.html.
4. ^ Puente ME, Bashan Y, Li CY, Lebsky VK. Microbial populations and activities in the rhizoplane of rock-weathering desert plants. I. Root colonization and weathering of igneous rocks. Plant Biology (Stuttgart). 2004 Sep;6(5):629-42. PMID 15375735
5. ^ Puente ME, Li CY, Bashan Y. Microbial populations and activities in the rhizoplane of rock-weathering desert plants. II. Growth promotion of cactus seedlings. Plant Biology (Stuttgart). 2004 Sep;6(5):643-50. PMID 15375736
6. ^ How cacti become 'rock busters'. BBC News Wednesday, 19 August 2009

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Source: Wikipedia, Wikispecies: All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License

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