San Pedro

(Echinopsis pachanoi)

A tall, thin, bright green San Pedro cactus among other varying specimens in the specimen bed at Sunnylands Center & Gardens.

San Pedro is planted throughout the gardens. You can see it in the specimen beds, in spotlight beds around the wildflower field, and the lower garden path. This is a columnar variety with very small spines spaced along the rib margins. In some cases, the spines are completely absent. Native at much higher elevations than Sunnylands, it nevertheless seems to thrive on the desert floor, as it is one of our most prolific bloomers.

The fragrant, white blooms open at night to await the nocturnal pollinators, bats, and moths.

The large, funnel-shaped blooms remain open the next morning, finding themselves the host of native bees who are completely engulfed by the long, pollen-covered stamens. The bees disappear into the bloom and re-emerge, speckled yellow.

San Pedro is native to Ecuador and Peru, where it is used extensively by indigenous cultures for medicine.

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