Centro De Investigaciones Biologicas del Noroeste: Cardon
Reference for extra reading on cardon

First description of cardons from the 17th century
In poetic prose, the Jesuit priest Don Miguel del Barco of mission San Javier wrote: "This tree, although full of moisture, is found only on dry lands, on level and sloped ground alike, provided that there is no moisture nearby, for this it shuns.... Whence then does it draw that moisture and the sap with which it is replete? Not from the rains, since these are very scant in California, and therefore, where there is no permanent spring and one must rely on rainwater alone, nothing can be sown or planted...The cardon, however, even though years may pass without rain, shows no sign of distress: it perseveres serenely, with the same fresh green color and the same abundant sap, as ever....".

Mision San Javier
Mission San Javier, 34 km east of Loreto, established by the Jesuit priest Miguel del Barco in the 17th century and preserved intact to this day.

Additional reading on cardons

  • Bashan, Y., Rojas, A., and Puente, M.E. 1999. Improved establishment and development of three cactus species inoculated with Azospirillum brasilense transplanted into disturbed urban desert soil. Canadian Journal of Microbiology 45; 441-451.
  • Bashan, Y., Toledo, G., and Holguin, G. 1995. Flat top decay syndrome of the giant cardon cactus (Pachycereus pringlei): description and distribution in Baja California Sur, Mexico. Canadian Journal of Botany. 73; 693-692.
  • Bravo-Hollis, H. 1978. Las cactáceas de México (The cactaceae of Mexico). Vol. 1. Universidad Autónoma de México. Mexico.
  • Carrillo-Garcia, A., Leon de la Luz, J.L., Bashan, Y., and Bethlenfalvay, G.J. 1999. Nurse plants, mycorrhizae, and plant establishment in a disturbed area of the Sonoran desert. Restoration Ecology 7: 321-335.
  • Carrillo, A., Bashan, Y., Diaz-Rivera, E., and Bethlenfalvay, G.J., 2000. Effect of resource island soils, competition and inoculation with Azospirillum on survival and growth of Pachycereus pringlei, the giant cactus of the Sonoran desert. Restoration Ecology 8:(in press).
  • Del Barco, M. 1768. Correcciones y adiciones a la historia o noticia de la California en su primera edición de Madrid, año de 1757. Re edited by M. León-Portilla (1988) by the title: "Historia Natural y Crónica de la antigua California". Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Instituto de Investigaciones Históricas. México.
  • Gibson, A.C., and Nobel, P.S. 1986. The cactus primer. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Mass.
  • León de la Luz, J. L., and Valiente-Banuet, A. 1994. Las Cactáceas revisitadas: Un recurso natural diverso y predominantemente Mexicano. Ciencia y Desarrollo. 20 (no. 117); 58-65.
  • Nobel, P.S. 1996. Ecophysiolgy of roots of desert plants, with special emphasis on agaves and cacti. Pages 823-844. In: Y. Waisel, A., Eshel, and U. Kafkafi (eds). Plant roots, the hidden half. 2nd Ed. Marcel Dekker. N.Y.
  • Puente, M.-E., and Bashan, Y. 1993. Effect of inoculation with Azospirillum brasilense strains on the germination and seedling growth of the giant columnar cardon cactus. Symbiosis. 15; 49-60. Roberts, N.C. 1989. Baja California plant field guide. Natural History Publishing Co. La Jolla, CA.
  • Tuttle, M.D. 1991. Bats the cactus connection. National Geographic 179 (6) :131-140. Valencia, M.E., Atondo, J.L., and Hernandez, G. 1985. Nutritive value of Zostera marina and cardon (Pachycereus pringlei) as consumed by the Seri indians in Sonora Mexico. Ecology of Food and Nutrition. 17;165-174.

Return to Cardon entry page

Comments re this page: Dr. Yoav Bashan
Design & production: Larry Miller
Version: 22 Jul 2000