Popular species of cacti include the Carnegiea gigantea, which spawned the stereotypical image of the cactus, and the tallest cactus called the Pachycereus pringlei. Another cactus species is Schlumbergera bridgesii, also known as the Christmas cactus.
Carnegiea gigantea is also called by its common names of saguaro cactus and giant cactus. The saguaro is native to the Sonoran desert in Arizona and can grow over 50 feet tall. This cactus is a symbol for Western films and is one of the most recognized pieces of desert imagery. It is tree-like and grows side-arms around the age range of 50 to 70 years.
Pachycereus pringlei is also called the elephant cactus and the Mexican giant cardon. It is similar to the saguaro but has more branches that are closer to the base of the cactus. The branches of the elephant cactus also have fewer ribs on the stems than the saguaro branches. The tallest Pachypereus pringlei cactus was 63 feet tall.
The Schlumbergera bridgesii is called the Christmas cactus and does not actually grow in the wild. It is a hybrid of two tropical wild cacti located in South America. The Christmas cactus is composed of flattened stems arranged in a scalloped pattern with flowers at the ends of the stems. The flowers are available in pink, red, purple, yellow and white varieties.