Old man cactus is native to southwestern North America—Arizona, and Baja California and Sonora in Mexico.
Identification: Señita grows up to 12′ (3.7 m) high, with stems
4-8″ (10-20 cm) in diameter. Near the bottom of the columns, the areoles (bumps which
produce the spines) are 1/16-3/16″ (3-5 mm) around, producing 1-15 spines 1/16-¼″ (2.5-7.6 mm) long.
On the upper part of
the columns, areoles are ¼-½″ (7.6-15 mm) around. Each areole includes 20-75 spines 1-4″ (3-10 cm) long.
It is these long, white, hairlike spines the give the cactus its common names. Flowers are cream-colored
to bright pink, about 1½″ (3.8 cm) across. Flowers usually bloom at night. Fruits are small, spiny red berries,
which are edible. (Note: there is another old man cactus too!)