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Bruce D. Parfitt, except as noted

Perennial herb, shrub, tree, generally fleshy. Stem: cylindric to spheric, or flat; surface smooth, tubercled, or ribbed (grooved); nodal areoles bearing flowers. Leaf: generally 0 or early-deciduous, flat to ± cylindric. Spines: areoles generally with central, radial spines, occasionally with glochids. Flower: generally 1 per areole, bisexual [unisexual], sessile, radial [bilateral]; perianth parts generally many [5], scale-like to petal-like; stamens many; ovary inferior [superior], style 1, stigma lobes generally several [many]. Fruit: dry to fleshy or juicy, indehiscent to variously dehiscent, spiny, scaly, or naked; tubercled or smooth. Seed: generally many, occasionally 0–few.
± 125 genera, ± 1800 species: America (especially deserts), Africa; many cultivated, some edible. [Parfitt & Gibson 2004 FNANM 4:92–257] Spines smaller, fewer (0) in shade forms; yellow spines blacken in age. Introduced species increasingly escape cultivation. Hybridization common in some genera. Taxa of Escobaria in TJM (1993) moved to Coryphantha. —Scientific Editors: Bruce D. Parfitt, Douglas H. Goldman, Bruce G. Baldwin, Thomas J. Rosatti.
Unabridged references: [Hunt 2006 The New Cactus Lexicon, DH Books, Milborne Port, England]

Key to Cactaceae


1 sp.: California, Arizona, Mexico. (Andrew Carnegie, American industrialist, philanthropist, 1835–1919)

C. gigantea (Engelm.) Britton & Rose
Tree, branches erect or ascending from sides of trunk, 1–10, generally 0 in basal 1.5–2 m. Stem: massive, 3–16 m, 30–75 cm diam, columnar, firm, not regularly segmented; ribs 12–30, prominent; tubercles ± 0. Spines: (8)15–28(50) per areole, 1–1.5 mm diam, stout, needle-like to awl-shaped, straight to ± curved; central spines (0)4–7 per areole. Flower: generally ± terminal, occasionally lateral, at distal edge of spine cluster, 8.5–12.5 cm, 5–6 cm diam; outer perianth parts green, margins lighter; inner perianth parts petal-like, white; ovary green, tubercled, scaly, scales triangular, spines 0 (or spines bristle-like), glabrous, style 10–15 mm. Fruit: 45–75 mm, 25–45 mm diam, obovoid to ellipsoid, dehiscent by 2+ vertical splits, red, occasionally thin-white-spined. Seed: 1.5–2 mm, obovoid, shiny, black.
2n=22. Rocky hills, plains; < 1500 m. e Sonoran Desert; southern Arizona, northwestern Mexico. [Cereus giganteus Engelm.] May–Jun [Online Interchange] {CNPS list}

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Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2013. Jepson eFlora,, accessed on Nov 24 2015
Citation for this treatment: [Author of taxon treatment] 2013. Carnegiea, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on Nov 24 2015

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Geographic subdivisions indicated for the distribution of Carnegiea gigantea Markers link to CCH specimen records. If the markers are obscured, reload the page [or change window size and reload]. Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues.
map of distribution 1
(Note: any qualifiers in the taxon distribution description, such as 'northern', 'southern', 'adjacent' etc., are not reflected in the map above, and in some cases indication of a taxon in a subdivision is based on a single collection or author-verified occurence).

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Data provided by the participants of the Consortium of California Herbaria.
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CCH collections by month

Duplicates counted once; synonyms included.
Species do not include records of infraspecific taxa.
Blue line denotes eFlora flowering time.