Pilosocereus leucocephalus f. crested


Cephalocereus maxonii
Cephalocereus palmeri
Cephalocereus sartorianus
Cephalophorus palmeri
Cereus maxonii
Cereus sartorianus
Pilocereus leucocephalus
Pilocereus maxonii
Pilocereus palmeri
Pilocereus sartorianus
Pilosocereus sartorianus


Pilosocereus leucocephalus f. crested is a beautiful nursery-produced cultivar, thus it doesn’t exist in nature. The species from which it has been created, Pilosocereus leucocephalus, is instead from Mexico (States of Tamaulipas, Chiapas, Hidalgo, Querétaro, San Luis Potosí, and Veracruz), south to Guatemala and Honduras. Its habitat consists in tropical, deciduous forests and scrubs inhabited by drought-resistant plants, where it thrives in the shade of trees and in rock fissures. It is threatened by habitat loss due to deforestation.


Pilosocereus leucocephalus is, in nature, a big, tree-like columnar cactus that can reach up to 6 meters in height! The
crested cultivar is much smaller, but it shares with the wild form the intense blue colour of the stems and the white fluffy
hair that sprout from its areoles, though in the crested form the hair is less abundant. In the wild species, instead, the
hair is so abundant that it ends up to resemble to some kind of white beard! The wild form is a columnar cacti, thus its stem is erect, while the crested form is kind of fan-shaped, showing an irregular stem, furrowed by wavy ribs, alternate with numerous crested. It’s precisely for its oddity that this cactus is so sought after among cacti collectors. Another commoon feature between the wild form and the crested one lies in the arrangement of the areoles (the white buttons that are the typical buds of Cactaceae family and from which spines and hairs are formed). The areoles are lined up in a regular pattern along the stem. In the crested form, they are lined up along the crests of the stem, following the irregular pattern of its “waves”. In the wild form, in which the stem is instead erect, they are simply arranged in lines. Thorns, in both the forms, are golden and particularly bristly in the crested form. Flowers are gorgeous: funnel-shaped and bright pink, they sprout from the sides of the stems. The crested form, however, usually don’t bloom. Nevertherless, the oddity and the intense blue colour of its stems make it very decorative and appreciated in among cacti lovers.


Pilosocereus leucocephalus f. crested is easy to cultivate. Put it in a sunny spot, as shade could be make it even more sensitive to root rot. It can survive temperatures down to -2ºC, if its substrate is kept completely dry. Watering should be start gradually in March, when the plant exits its Winter dormancy period, increasing gradually the irrigation frequency until watering regularly during the Summer, when the plant grows at the maximum rate. Start to reduce watering frequency in September, until stopping any irrigation in October to help the plant to enter its Winter rest. During the Winter, the substrate should be maintained completely dry. Choose a well-drained, rich in mineral substrate, and fertilize, in Summer, only if it’s been a while since the last repotting. If the compost is fresh, fertilization may be not necessary at all. Repot anytime you see that the plant becomes much wider than the pot’s diameter: once every year is sufficient.


Propagation of the crested form is usually carried out by cuttings or grafting. When grafted, they are grafted onto a columnar cactus: by the way, they are able to grow on their own roots. Cuttings, instead, can be taken off in Spring and Summer from shoots. After cutting the stem with a sharp, clean knife, let your cuttings dry up to heal the wound and place them in a pot filled with coarse grit. Rooting takes usually 2 to 6 weeks.


The name Pilosocereus literally means “hairy cereus”. It shares with other cereus the typical candelabrum shape (which is the reason of the last part of its name, “cereus”, which means torch), and large size, while it differs from them in the thick hairs that grow on the adult plant.

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