Sonoran Native Virtual Tour - ORGAN PIPE CACTUS

Stenocereus thurberi       |       Cactaceae      |       organ pipe cactus



Desert Ecology:


White or pale purplish flowers are borne on the top of each vertical stem that are pollinated by insects and long-nosed bats. Red fruits called “pitahaya dulce” ripen in the summer (June to August). The fruits can grow as large as oranges and taste like watermelon. 




The edible fruit was a favorite among native peoples and was ceremonially celebrated at harvest. It was eaten fresh, as jam, or prepared as fruit leather, syrups, wine, mashed seeds produce oily paste used as butter. The seeds could be made into flour in times of food scarcity (also “second harvest” from excrement).  Woody ribs used in construction of fences, ceiling beams. The flesh was used as a compress for aches or to soothe snakebites and the Seri used it, mixed with animal fat, as a boat sealant.




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