Plant Listings

Pilocereus polygonus

Pilocereus polygonus (Lam.) Byles & G. D. Rowley

Formerly: Pilocereus millspaughii 

Common Names: Millspaugh’s Dildo, Wild Fig, Old Mans Cactus

Family:  Cactaceae

Habit: Pilocereus polygonus grows as a multi-branched succulent shrub/tree to 7 meters in height.  The trunk is up 20 cm thick and branches to 15 cm in width, each with up to 13 ridges.  On the ridges, the areoles, 1-2 cm apart, have 20-25 radiating spines each. The leeward sides on the upper portions of the stems retain groupings of hairs at the location where flowers/fruits are produced.

The slightly zygomorphic, complete, perfect flowers are arranged solitarily, emerging from areoles at the ends of branches.  The calyx has numerous green sepals. The corolla has numerous white petals, and there are numerous stamens. The calyx, corolla and androecium are fused to form a hypanthium. Inside the flower at the base of the hypanthium are nectaries. The ovary is inferior with a single locule and numerous seeds. The fruit is a bright red berry at maturity. On the stem, at the base of the fruit, is a thick grouping of hairs that remains on the stem after the fruit is gone.

Habitat: Pilocereus polyognus grows in exposed locations such as hilltops n Dry Broadleaf Evergreen Formation-Woodland/Shrublands (Scrublands)

Distribution in Bahamas/Globally: Pilocereus polyognus occurs throughout the Bahamian Archipelago as well as the Greater Antilles and Florida.

Medicinal/Cultural/Economic usage: Pilocereus polyogonus is not used medicinally in the Bahamas.

As with all cacti, Pilocereus bahamensis is CITES listed.

Pilocereus bahamensis has a high ecological value. The large flowers support butterflies, moths and other insects with its large nectaries and numerous pollen-bearing stamens. The fruits support a diverse bird population and the hairs on the fruit base are known to be used for bird nests.



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