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Pachycereus Pringlei (Cardon)
Pachycereus Pringlei, named after American botanist, Cyrus Pringle, is a columnar cactus native to the Sonoran Desert that is the tallest of all cactus species. With specimens reportedly reaching seventy feet in height with a diameter of about five feet, this species resembles the popular Giant Saguaro (Carnegiea Gigantea) but has fewer ribs. Pringlei blooms white flowers from March through June. The flowers are pollinated by insects, birds and bats. Birds and bats are also responsible for spreading Pringlei’s seed when they eat the fruit, which is also edible to humans. This fruit was used as a staple food by natives such as the Seri people of Sonora. Native people also utilized other parts of the cactus such as the seed, which they ground into flour, and the spines, which they used to make fishing spears. Like other species of columnar cactus, pringlei was also reportedly used for construction and fencing. Additionally, the flesh was used medicinally as a disinfectant and a pain killer as well as for healing.
In nature, Pringlei’s seeds are typically subjected to the digestive juices of bats and birds that transport the seed. These juices actually aid the germination process by wearing down the seed coat. To substitute this process, the seed coats should be filed down to allow moisture to reach the embryo. Following this, plant your seeds on the surface of a cactus potting soil. Spray the soil lightly if moisture is needed and cover your container with clear plastic. Place the seeds in bright light and keep them warm. Young Pringlei cacti also tend to grown in the shadows of larger plants, so it is important that they be shaded. The cacti grow slow, so it would probably take many years before the cactus would require full sun. Seed germination tends to be irregular. GA-3 is said to improve and even out sprouting. Once established, little to moderate watering is required.