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Trichocereus tarijensis / Echinopsis tarijensis

Trichocereus tarijensis poco orurensis

The species trichocereus tarijensis, also known as Echinopsis tarijensis or Trichocereus poco, is a columnar cactus. Today it is separated through various subspecies that all count as part of Trichoereus tarijensis.

Currently valid names

Echinopsis tarijensis +

Echinopsis tarijensis ssp. herzogiana / Trichocereus herzogianus

Echinopsis tarijensis ssp. tarijensis / Trichocereus tarijensis

Echinopsis tarijensis ssp. totorensis / Trichocereus totorensis

In addition the species Trichocereus poco / Echinopsis poco is seen as part of Trichocereus tarijensis as well.

Trichocereus tarijensis is a massive and spiny Trichocereus species. Its many forms make it difficult to clearly separate some regional forms, which is why the whole complex should rather be seen as a group of very similar regional forms that ll belong to the same species. It is partially synonymous with trichocereus totorensis, Trichocereus bertramianus and Trichocereus poco.

Type locality

The type locality is Tarija in Bolivia and it grows throughout southwest and south Bolivia, parts of Argentina and the Andes.


Trichocereus Poco, Helianthocereus poco, Cereus tarijensis, Lobivia formosa ssp. tarijensis, Trichocereus herzogiana, Helianthocereus herzogiana, Helianthocereus tarijensis, Trichocereus totorensis, Helianthocereus totorensis, Trichocereus narvaecensis, Trichocereus narvaezensis, Trichocereus bertramianus, Echinopsis bertramiana, Echinopsis narvaecensis, Trichocereus orurensis, Echinopsis orurensis, etc.

Description of T.tarijensis

Typically, Trichocereus tarijensis has 15-25 ribs, can get up to 40 centimeters in diameter with spines that can get 1-10 centimeters long. Spines yellowish in color. 1-5 Middle thorns and up to 45 radial thorns. The spines are usually long and are pointing downwards, what gives Trichocereus tarijensis a great protection against anything trying to eat it. The diameter can reach a stunning 40-50 centimeters. Young specimens are very similar to Trichocereus pasacana, but are a lot more spiny, especially later on.


Red to pink to milky white and over 10 centimeters in lenght. Green fruits, up to 5 centimeters in lenght. 3 centimeters in diameter. There is great variation within the look of the flowers and while some can be more rose-colored, some others look more reddish.

And also the rest of the plant can be greatly variable, which is the reason that this species caused a lot of confusion due to numerous descriptions of plants that somehow seem to belong into the same complex. A lot of the species inside Backeberg´s genus “Helianthocereus” belong into the Tarijensis group, that now consists of a handful of subspecies, instead of varieties. That is a fine but very important difference and I tend to agree that this is exactly the right way to classify this group of impressive giants that can be found all over the Andes.

Photos of Trichocereus tarijensis

Trichocereus tarijensis ssp. poco

Pic: Prier

Trichocereus poco Trichocereus tarijensis ssp. poco Echinopsis tarijensis 2

Trichocereus Tarijensis Poco350

Trichocereus poco Trichocereus tarijensis ssp. poco Echinopsis tarijensis 6

Trichocereus poco, which is probably synonymous with Tr. tarijensis

Trichocereus Tarijensis Poco352

Trichocereus Poco, which is probably synonymous with Trichocereus Tarijensis

This is a herbarium specimen, Copyright: Ben Kamm,

Trichocereus poco Trichocereus tarijensis ssp. poco Echinopsis tarijensis



Trichocereus poco Trichocereus tarijensis ssp. poco Echinopsis tarijensis 12

Evasaco Jardin_Botanico_de_Altura-Tilcara-Jujuy

Jujuy- by Marian ocecowski QuebradaDeHumahuaca

by Evasaco Jardin_Botanico_de_Altura-Tilcara-Jujuy

Trichocereus poco Trichocereus tarijensis ssp. poco Echinopsis tarijensis 14

Young specimen of Trichocereus poco, also known as Trichocereus tarijensis v. poco. You can perfectly see the similarity to Trichocereus Pasacana and Terscheckii. The plant is a lot more spiny though and that´s exactly how you can differentiate it.

Trichocereus Herzogianus ssp Totorensis367

This plant was labeled Trichocereus Herzogianus ssp. Totorensis. It is also the same plant called Trichocereus Totorensis, Helianthocereus Totorensis or the new name Trichocereus Tarijensis ssp. Totorensis.

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Trichocereus validus

Trichocereus pachanoi

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Trichocereus poco (Echinopsis tarijensis)

Trichocereus poco (Echinopsis tarijensis ssp. tarijensis)

Synonyms: Trichocereus poco, Echinopsis poco, Helianthocereus poco, Trichocereus tarijensis var. poco, Trichocereus narvaecensis, Trichocereus poco var. fricianus, Trichocereus totorillanus

Taxonomic Background: These days, Trichocereus poco has been moved into the species Echinopsis tarijensis, formerly known as Trichocereus tarijensis. There are minor differences between these two, but that´s a normal thing within the genus Trichocereus. Trichocereus tarijensis is extremely variable and minor differences in appearance are to be expected. Backeberg tried to keep it separate from Trichocereus tarijensis (because he has a history of describing many species that were not really needed) and used the name “Helianthocereus poco” for the tarijensis-type Trichos from the southern highlands of Bolivia. His description was very lacking, in particular about the traits of the adult plants in the habitat.

Description: Trichocereus poco aka Echinopsis tarijensis var. poco grows like a tree and has between 16-20 needle-like spines per areole in his juvenile form. The adult form has 30-50 stump bristle-spines that are usually bent and twisted. Trichocereus poco starts shapeshifting into its adult form around a size of 50-70 centimeters while Trichocereus tarijensis has to get a little higher (1-2 meters) to start looking as its adult form.

Ribs: 20-32.

Flower: A mix between orange and red. 10-15 centimeters long, white with a little touch of rose on top, stylus white to red, filaments bright green (lower part) to white (upper part). There also are variations of the flower in colors like white, pink, beige, peach, etc.

Origin: Trichocereus poco grows in Bolivia and Argentina.

Cultivation: Trichocereus poco should not receive too much water and requires a good drainage to stay healthy. Species with such a thick spination should be kept drier than other species. The temperatures should never get lower than -5° celsius, though it probably tolerates short time night frosts of down to -9° celsius. But that is really not something that you would want to try because it already starts getting rot problems at around 0° celsius. So keep it dry, overwinter it at a bright and well ventilated area with temperatures around 10° celsius/50° Fahrenheit. If you live in a country with very mild winters, you might be able to get it over the winter by giving it additional frost protection, like a roofing and a purely mineral soil.

Seed & live cuttings sources: There are really not many sources for some seed of Trichocereus poco and most I know came from Köhres. There also are some live specimens on sites like eBay or Amazon sometimes and they make an amazing showroom plant.

Germination: They should be treated like seeds of Trichocereus Tarijensis or Trichocereus Terscheckii. Temperatures between 25° -29° celsius will be sufficient to make the magic happening. Make sure to give it a cactus soil that dries out very fast and only water every now and then after the old water has drained up. Light helps to induce the germination process, so maybe try adding a LED or HPS lamp to your sowing setup and you will get higher germination rates.

Photos of Trichocereus poco aka Trichocereus tarijensis

Trichocereus poco (Echinopsis tarijensis)

Trichocereus poco (Echinopsis tarijensis)

Trichocereus Helianthocereus Poco
Trichocereus poco (Echinopsis tarijensis)

Check out our main plant database pages for Trichocereus pachanoi aka Echinopsis pachanoi here:

And Trichocereus bridgesii here:

Trichocereus scopulicola

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