Trichocereus spachianus / Echinopsis spachiana
Trichocereus spachianus aka Echinopsis spachiana is a columnar cactus that originates in Argentina.
Synonyms: Trichocereus shaferi, Trichocereus santiaguensis, Cereus spachianus, Echinocereus spachianus, Cereus santiaguensis, Echinopsis santiaguensis, Trichocereus manguinii, Trichocereus trichosus, Trichocereus spachianoides
If you want to buy seeds of Trichocereus spachianus, you can find some here:
The history of Trichocereus spachianus is very confusion and most taxonomists have their own opinion on how the plant originally came from and which subspecies or varieties are synonymous with it. The original plant described by Lemaire as Cereus spachianus in 1840 was said to originally come from Mexico and differed substantially from what we know as Trichocereus spachianus. Ten years later in 1850, Salm-Dyck described the Trichocereus spachianus as we know it today. Salm-Dycks plant is the modern Trichocereus spachianus. And according to his description, it has around 8 Ribs, a rib height of 10 mm and an areole distance of 20 mm. Both descriptions lacked Flower descriptions, but there is what Lemaire´s plant looked like according to the description: 10-15 ribs, rib height of 5 mm and an areole distance of 6-10 mm. The origin of Trichocereus spachianus is still not known, but there are some types in nature that are very similar to almost identical. Trichocereus santiaguensis grows around Santiago de Estero is the one that I suspected to be the original plant that was described as our modern Trichocereus spachianus. Besides, there is another population of a plant that was described as Trichocereus shaferi, which is probably synonymous too. Trichocereus shaferi grows in Jujuy near Leon. Another very similar Tricho grows in Bolivia and is called Trichocereus tenuispinus. That name is absolutely not valid and I am just mentioning it for the sake of completeness.
Trichocereus spachanius Description
Up to 2 meters tall and pupping from the base. Pups grow upwards and parallel to the main column. 10 – 15 Ribs and areoles approx. 1 centimeter apart. With yellow wool. 8-10 radial spines (0,6 bis 1 cm long) and 1 strong middle spine.
Flower: The flower of Trichocereus spachianus is white and up to 20 centimeters large. The Flowers don´t smell and the wild varieties are very unlike the ones in cultivation. Trichocereus spachianus is a night-flowering species, but the flowers stay open until late in the day.
Origin: Argentina (around Mendoza), in San Juan, La Rioja and San Luis. Jujuy (1500-1800 meters)
Trichocereus spachianus is a very tough and resistant cactus that can be used for all kinds of purposes, including as Grafting stock, fencing plant or for Hybrid cultivation. The flowers are very large and there are some amazing hybrids that involve Trichocereus spachianus. It is one of the best grafting stocks because it accepts many hosts. There are all kinds of plants that are synonymous with Trichocereus spachianus and none of the older species names like Trichocreus Santiaguensis or Trichocereus shaferi are valid today. Trichocereus spachianus is also called “Golden Torch” or “Golden Torch Cactus“.
Cultivation: Trichocereus spachianus is very frost resistant, but temperatures shouldnt go below -5° to -10° Celsius and it greatly depends on the general health of the plant and the dryness of the substrate if the plant suffers any damage. It has to be kept completely dry over winter and the bets temperature to overwinter it inside is at around 10° Celsius and with sufficient fresh air.
Seed & live cuttings sources: There are many sources for Trichocereus spachianus, including seed from various private sellers or commercial shops like Köhres, Misplant or SAB. Besides there are cuttings available from shops like Ebay and Amazon.
Varieties: There really aren´t that many accepted varieties of Trichocereus spachianus available. But there are a couple of regional varieties like Trichocereus shaferi, Trichocereus santiaguensis or Trichocereus spachianoides, which was a very similar plant that was probably synonymous and was collected and sold by Friedrich Ritter. The plant had the collection number FR980 and was collected in 1960/61.
Soil requirements: Trichocereus spachianus should be given a purely mineral soil mix that dries out very fast because it tends to suffer from rot if it is grown in seed with too much humous. You can use pumice, sand or any other mineral substrate. They like to get fertilizer on a regular basis. But I would recommend to water them only when it´s hot. No water on rainy or cold days and only water as soon as the soil has completely dried up! Trichocereus spachianus likes to be grown in partial shade but can also tolerate being grown in full sun. On the pics, you see that the plants are usually sown in full sun and they like it a lot. The flower is very large and beautiful, but the species needs to reach a certain size before it can flower.
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