What Are the Different Types of Cacti Living in Mexico?

Mexico's Sonoran and Chihuahuan deserts sport a variety of climates as well as a plethora of cacti. These regions have a number of landscape features that are responsible for the differences in characteristics of the various cacti, including their shape, height and ability to produce flowers. Cacti are able to thrive in these dry, arid climates that are inhospitable to many other plant species.

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Cacti are sturdy, hardy plants that can survive in arid climates.

The Organ Pipe

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The organ pipe cactus has tall, column-like stems.

The organ pipe catcus (Stenocereus thurberi) is found in the western region of Mexico. Its stems are tall and shaped like columns. In the spring, it produces fruit that have a sweet taste. The fruit is able to be eaten in the latter part of summer, especially by wildlife such as bats and doves.

Suguaro

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Spines provide protection and many other functions for a cactus.

The suguaro (Carnigiea gigantea) of the Sonoran Desert is the one most recognizable cactus plants. These cacti live a long time. They grow to 40 feet in height over the course of 200 years. The suguaro produces white flowers that grow from the plant's stems in May and later in June. The fruit that blooms in early to mid-summer is edible.

The Senita

The senita (Pachycereus schottii) is a tall cactus that features bristled, long spines that provide shade from the sun for the plant. They also protect the cactus from the wind, preventing the it from drying out. The spines redirect the wind's movement as it passes over the plant. It is most prevalent in the plain and valley regions in the Sonoran Desert.