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Echinocereus pensilis (K. Brandegee) J. A. Purpus 1908

Hanging cactus, pitayita, snake cactus

KingdomPlantaePlants, but not fungi, lichens, or algae
SubkingdomTracheobiontaVascular plants—plants with a “circulatory system” for delivering water and nutrients
DivisionMagnoliophytaFlowering plants, also known as angiosperms
ClassMagnoliopsidaDicotyledons—plants with two initial seed leaves
SubclassCaryophyllidaeCacti, many other succulents, carnivorous plants, and leadworts
OrderCaryophyllalesIncludes cacti, carnations, amaranths, ice plants, and many carnivorous plants
FamilyCactaceaeSucculent (water-storing) plants, often spiny
GenusEchinocereusRibbed, small to medium-sized cacti

About plant names...

The hanging cactus is native to part of the Baja peninsula in Mexico.

Identification: These cacti form tangled mats of yellow-green branches. The stems start out erect, but may bend and hang downward. They reach 3-13′ (1-4 m) in length, and up to 1¾″ (5 cm) in diameter. Spine clusters start out with as few as 6 needles, but over time as many as 70 needles can form. Tubular or funnel-shaped orange-red flowers emerge from stem tips. They reach up to 1¾″ (4.5 cm) in diameter, and up to 2½″ (6.5 cm) in length.


Anderson, Edward F., The Cactus Family, Timber Press, 2001, p. 242

Online References:



The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum Center for Sonoran Desert Studies

Cactus Art: the World of Cacti & Succulents

Cereus pensilis K. Brandegee 1904

Morangaya pensilis (K. Brandegee) G. D. Rowley 1974


Echinocereus pensilis description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 25 May 2020.

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Echinocereus pensilis (hanging cactus, pitayita, snake cactus)

2/24/2010 · San Diego (Quail) Botanic Garden, Encinitas, Cali­fornia


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