• Sonoran Desert at Organ Pipe NM

    Organ Pipe Cactus

    National Monument Arizona

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Cacti

Our namesake, the organ pipe cactus.

Our namesake, the organ pipe cactus, is rarely found in the US

NPS Volunteer

Cacti of the Monument

There are 28 different species of cacti in the monument, ranging from the giant saguaro to the miniature pincushion. These cacti are all highly adapted to survive in the dry and unpredictable desert. They use spines for protection and shade, thick skin and pulp to preserve water, unique pathways of photosynthesis at night, and hidden under their skin are delicate to sturdy wooden frames holding them together.

Day or night, the summer display of many different cactus blooms is one of the desert's flashiest spectacles, as the brilliant flowers of yellow, red, white, and pink bring color to the landscape. It is a show upstaged only by the springtime explosions of gold poppies, blue lupines, pink owl clover, and other annuals after a wet winter.

 
Organ Pipe Cactus Blossom, open only at night.

The Organ Pipe cactus opens its blossoms only during the cooler evening hours, for one night only, closing early in the morning. 

Andy Fisher, NPS photo

The more common cacti species found within Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument include:

  • Organ Pipe (Stenocereus thurberi)
  • Saguaro (Carnegiea gigantean)
  • Senita (Lophocereus schottii)
  • Chain Fruit Cholla (Opuntia fulgida)
  • Teddy Bear Cholla (Opuntia bigelovii)
  • Engelmann's Prickly Pear (Opunita engelmannii)
  • Hedgehog (Echinocereus species)
  • Pincushion (Mammillaria species)
  • Arizona Barrell (Ferocactus wislizenii)
 

Did You Know?

Javelinas are not pigs

Javelina look like pigs and act like pigs, but they are not pigs. Pigs evolved over thousands of years on the Eurasian continent. Javelina evolved over thousands of years on the North American continent. So, they may look like each other, but they are not even remotely related. More...