Cactus

Cardón (Pachycereus pringlei)

The cardón known by its scientific name as Pachycereus pringlei, is the largest cactus that exists in the world. This species can exceed 20 meters in height, while its weight is between 10 and 25 tons and its diameter can be around 1.5 meters.

It is also known as giant columnar cardon and it is one of the most important plants found in the desert regions of Baja California del Sur, as it serves as food and shelter for a wide variety of animal species that inhabit the area.

characteristics

It is a thick, long-lasting plant belonging to the cactus family. Mexico is the place of its natural distribution and origin and is known by various names among which are cardón, saguaro, sagueso and sahuaro. As it grows, it develops an erect stem that has a rounded shape. Commonly branched starting from the bottom with a light green color most of the time, it has a maximum of 17 prolonged ribs that are covered with a series of spines.

These spines are grouped by all the veins in areoles that hold 20 to 30 spines. Most of the time they are quite long, thin, with a slightly pale yellow color and in rare cases they show a blackish color. Their lengths are usually 10 to 30 centimeters.

On the other hand, its flowers are white and in some cases white with pink tones, they are long, narrow and its tube is covered by bracts. They can be about 12 centimeters long, while their shape is quite similar to that of a funnel, with a more focused style and numerous stamens that in turn have a yellow color.

In the summer season it is when its flowering occurs, lasting just a few days, usually no longer than a week, all depending on the conditions that occur at that time. As for its fruits, they are initially green in color and eventually turn reddish. In its inner part you can find a large number of seeds, which are usually black. The meat of the cardón is quite juicy with a red hue, and can be consumed without any problem.

Cultivation and care of Cardón

For the cardón to grow without any problems, it is recommended that it be cultivated and cared for under certain conditions. The light it receives has to be completely natural, if it is grown in full sun then it will have a better chance of developing properly.

It is essential to avoid excessive watering, it must be remembered that it is a natural plant of desert areas. The more arid the temperatures, the better its development will be. It is not necessary to have a substrate rich in nutrients, the cardón has an amazing ability to develop on rocks without any type of soil and it is not necessary to use any fertilizer. Although it is true that some species of cactus can benefit, the truth is that without any kind of fertilizer the cardón can grow normally.

Spread

Most of the cactus and succulent species tend to be propagated through cuttings, which means that it is enough to cut a piece of the cardón branch and replant it on a drained soil. However, the simplest propagation procedure is through seeds, as cuttings are a somewhat difficult method for beginning gardeners to do.

Main uses

The cardón or Pachycereus pringlei is a plant whose fruit can be consumed, it has great medicinal properties for health and its pulp has analgesic, healing and disinfectant properties. Some inhabitants who are in the regions where the cardón can grow in the wild, use as combs some pieces of the ribs together with their spines. There are aborigines who use the seeds of this cactus and grind them to obtain a very fine flour spice.

Plagues and diseases

It is not usually common for this species of cactus to be attacked by pests and diseases, however, this will depend on the amount of water used to water this plant, since an excess will rot its roots.

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