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Trichocereus deserticolus (Echinopsis deserticola)

Trichocereus deserticolus (Echinopsis deserticola)

Trichocereus deserticolus, also known as Echinopsis deserticola, is a columnar cactus from Chile. This species also includes Trichocereus fulvilanus / Echinopsis fulvilana as a subspecies of Echinopsis deserticola now.

Trichocereus deserticolus / Echinopsis deserticola Patrick Noll

Trichocereus deserticolus / Echinopsis deserticola Patrick Noll

Trichocereus deserticolus is a plant with a complicated and close relationship to Trichocereus fulvilanus, Trichocereus coquimbanus and Trichocereus chalaensis. They get very close to each other sometimes, for example the population between Paposo and El Cobre. Trichocereus fulvilanus grows from Caldera in the north to El Cobre, while Trichocereus deserticola grows from Paposo down in the south to Tocopilla in the north.   There are taxonomists or authors that regarded Trichocereus fulvilanus as being unrelated to Trichocereus deserticolus / Echinopsis deserticola, but I do not really share this opinion. Yes, there certainly are differences between Trichocereus deserticolus and Trichocereus fulvilanus, but a blind man could see that both are as closely related as it can get.

Synonyms of E.deserticola:

Echinopsis deserticola, Trichocereus deserticola, Cereus deserticola, Cereus fulvilanus, Echinopsis fulvilanus, Echinopsis fulvilana,Trichocereus deserticolus, Echinopsis deserticolus

Origin of T.deserticolus:

Chile. The type location is Antofagasta. It also grows around Atacama, El cobre, Paposo, Tocopilla, etc. Trichocereus deserticolus grows in a moister climate than Trichocereus fulvilanus, which grows around the coastlines and that prefers a drier climate. Because of that, Trichocereus deserticolus can rather be found in the higher areas around Paposo, where it is extremely common.

Description of Tr. deserticolus: 

Trichocereus deserticolus is a branched plant that does not get as big as other Trichocereus species. It´s usually somewhere between 1-2 meters tall, but most of them are around 1 meter.

Ribs:

9-13, with very strong furrows. This plant is somewhat similar to Trichocereus chalaensis, which grows creeping.

The areoles are 1-2 centimeter apart of each other. Trichocereus deserticola usually has 2-3 middle thorns and 18-24 radial thorns. Which are very thin and have a dark brown/reddish color. The epidermis of the skin shows a very weak, pale green color.

Flowers: The flowers are white and a little bit smaller than the ones on other Trichocereus species. The size of the flowers is between 5 and 12 centimeters. They have brown/black hairs and the fruits are round and can be eaten.

In a wider sense, this plant is most likely related to Trichocereus chiloensis as well. However, the exact genetic situation has to be revealed by DNA testing. 

Cultivation:

Trichocereus deserticolus should be treated just like every other Trichocereus from Chile. It only needs watering during the hot season and requires a soil that dries out very fast. I usually use purely mineral soil mixes and as Chilean Trichocereus species, Trichocereus deserticolus aka Echinopsis deserticola likes it a lot

Buy T.deserticolus:

There are almost no seeds of Trichocereus deserticola available. Sometimes you can get small cuttings on sites like eBay. I sometimes have seeds of this species available and I can recommend that you join our Trichocereus group or Newsletter to stay in touch.

Winter protection:

Trichocereus deserticolus should not be kept at temperatures below -5° Celsius and the plants have to be completely dry if you want to overwinter them at a cold climate. A perfect overwintering temperature is around 10° celsius, which is something around 50° Fahrenheit. The plants should be kept at a bright and well ventilated area.

 

Trichocereus deserticolus / Echinopsis deserticola Patrick Noll 2

Trichocereus deserticolus / Echinopsis deserticola Patrick Noll 3

Trichocereus deserticolus / Echinopsis deserticola Patrick Noll 5

leonora enking Echinopsis deserticola Trichocereus deserticolus

leonora enking Echinopsis deserticola Trichocereus deserticolus

 leonora enking Echinopsis deserticola Trichocereus deserticolus 2

leonora enking 2

by leonora enking Trichocereus deserticolus flower Echinopsis deserticola_(1)

By Leonora Enking

Photos below: Pedro Lopez Artes

Trichocereus deserticolus Echinopsis deserticola Pedro Lopez Artes (4) Trichocereus deserticolus Echinopsis deserticola Pedro Lopez Artes (5) Trichocereus deserticolus Echinopsis deserticola Pedro Lopez Artes (6) Trichocereus deserticolus Echinopsis deserticola Pedro Lopez Artes (7)  Trichocereus deserticolus Echinopsis deserticola Pedro Lopez Artes (9) Trichocereus deserticolus Echinopsis deserticola Pedro Lopez Artes (10) Trichocereus deserticolus Echinopsis deserticola Pedro Lopez Artes (10) Trichocereus deserticolus Echinopsis deserticola Pedro Lopez Artes (3) Trichocereus deserticolus Echinopsis deserticola Pedro Lopez Artes (11)

Below: The subspecies Tr.deserticolus ssp. fulvilanus

by Michael Wolf Trichocereus fulvilanus Echinopsis fulvilana

by Michael Wolf

Trichocereus fulvilanus v. longispina flower photos:

Trichocereus fulvilanus v. longispinus flower photos Echinopsis fulvilana Trichocereus fulvilanus v. longispinus flower photos Echinopsis fulvilana 2 Trichocereus fulvilanus v. longispinus flower photos Echinopsis fulvilana 3 Trichocereus fulvilanus v. longispinus flower photos Echinopsis fulvilana 4 Trichocereus fulvilanus v. longispinus flower photos Echinopsis fulvilana 5 Trichocereus fulvilanus v. longispinus flower photos Echinopsis fulvilana 7

Trichocereus nigripilis / Trichocereus spinibarbis (Echinopsis)

Trichocereus nigripilis / Trichocereus spinibarbis (Echinopsis)

 

Trichocereus nigripilis / Trichocereus spinibarbis is a Chilean Trichocereus species. There is a lot of confusion surrounding the name. According to Ritter, the plant was synonymous with a plant called Cereus spinibarbis Otto, which is why he described it as Trichocereus spinibarbis. These days, Trichocereus nigripilis is not an accepted name anymore and these plants are now understood to be part of the Trichocereus chiloensis complex. The name was re-classified as Echinopsis spinibarbis, but because of the chaotic situation surrounding the name, it would probably be best to lay it to rest.

In addition to the genetic proximity to Trichocereus chiloensis, these plants are very close to Trichocereus coquimbanus/Trichocereus fulvianus/Trichocereus deserticolus. In Coquimbo, there are a couple of intermediates and different forms growing together and this is one of them. But the whole description of the plant called Cereus spinibarbis Otto was already problematic to begin with because it lacked almost everything a reliable description should have. There neither were flowers nor fruits included in the description. The plants are very spiny and look like you´d expect a intermediate between Trichocereus coquimbanus and Trichocereus chilensis to look like. Trichocereus nigripilis (or Echinopsis spinibarbus) is similarly close to Trichocereus chiloensis, as Trichocereus litoralis. The latter is a subspecies/form of Trichocereus chiloensis.

The history of Trichocereus nigripilis is really long and you have to dig through all kinds of different descriptions. And I already mentioned why they are pretty flawed to begin with. The original description of Cereus Spinibarbis Otto came from Förster in 1846. This description was also reprinted in Labourets book in 1853.

Trichocereus Nigripilis has a grass green body and new shoots are approximately 4-5 centimeters thick. It has nine ribs and curved areoles with very distinct separating grooves. It has large, oval areoles that are white felted. The spines are yellow, straight, strong and have a black tip, what is responsible for the name “Nigripilis”. The areoles are 1-2 centimeters long and are only a couple mm apart of each other.

Trichocereus nigripilis has 8-10 radial spines and 2-4 middle spines, which are thick and up to 2,5 centimeters long.

Origin: Coquimbo. 30 Kilometers north of La Serena near the coast.

Salm-Dyck wrote about this plant, that the epidermis is dull and has a sandy/grainy texture. Unfortunately, I lack any plants to confirm this. If you grow one, please let me know because I am fairly interested in this plant and need better pics.

The plant that was described by Britton & Rose as Cereus spinibarbis was a different plant and does not belong here. They described a Eulychnia.

Trichocereus nigripilis forms large & multi-branched groups. New shoots emerge from the base and start growing upwards until later when they tend to bend over and growing almost creeping.

Ribs: 8-10. The plants growing in the northern areas around Huasco and Totoral tend to have more ribs than the ones in other areas. In these cases, the number is between 10-15 ribs. The plants in the original habitats usually have stronger spines and more ribs than the ones in collections.

Trichocereus nigripilis is VERY similar to Trichocereus coquimbanus. The differences in the flower are: The flower of Trichocereus nigripilis always emerges from the top part/apex, is 8-11 cm long and usually very wide open. The tube is 25-36 mm long, the top part 20-30mm wide and white on the inside. The stamens are white, 15-23 mm long. The stylus is whitish, 42-70 mm long.

Backeberg gave Quebrada Honda as Typus location (which is roughly 30 km north of La Serena). Friedrich Ritters Collection number was FR536.

Where to buy seeds or plants of Trichocereus nigripilis?: Well, this cactus is rare and will usually not come labeled as this. The Peruvian field botanist Karel Knize sold a large amount of them labeled as KK1425 Trichocereus nigripilus but I, unfortunately, lack any pics of the plant. Chances are that the color pics on this page show KK1425 but that´s just a guess. Apart from that, the plant is rare and will probably come labeled as Trichocereus chiloensis or Trichocereus coquimbanus. As you can see, the b/w pics show some extremely spiny plants while Knizes “presumed” KK1425 shows something that is more like a chiloensis.  KK1425 was collected at Coquimbo, Chile at 1000 meters altitude.

Varieties: All I know is that there was/is a variety called Trichocereus nigripilis var. nigris. At the moment, I do not have any more info but I will add some later.

Trichocereus Spinibarbis aka Nigripilis313

Trichocereus Nigripilis / Trichocereu Spinibarbis at the typus location.

Trichocereus Spinibarbis aka Nigripilis312

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