Pilocereus millspaughii

Pilocereus millspaughii  (Britton) Byles & G. D. Rowley

Synonym: Pilocereus polygonus

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

Family: Cactaceae

HabitPilocereus millspaughii 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 complete, perfect, slightly zygomorphic 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.

HabitatPilocereus millspaughii grows in exposed locations such as hilltops in Dry Broadleaf Evergreen Formation-Woodland/Shrublands (scrublands).

DistributionPilocereus millspaughii occurs throughout the Lucayan Archipelago as well as the Greater Antilles and Florida.

Medicinal/Cultural/Economic usagePilocereus millspaughii is not known to be used medicinally in the Lucayan Archipelago.

As with all cacti, Pilocereus millspaughiiis CITES listed.

Pilocereus millspaughiihas a high ecological value. The large flowers support birds, (maybe bats), 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.