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 31 species of cacti in the monument, ranging from the giant saguaro to the miniature pincushion. These cacti are 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 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 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)

Last updated: June 24, 2018

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Mailing Address:

10 Organ Pipe Drive
Ajo , AZ 85321


520 387-6849

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