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 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.
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 deserticolusis 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.
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.
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
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.
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.
By Leonora Enking
Photos below: Pedro Lopez Artes
Below: The subspecies Tr.deserticolus ssp. fulvilanus
by Michael Wolf
Trichocereus fulvilanus v. longispina flower photos:
Trichocereus glaucus, also known as Echinopsis glauca, is a Peruvian Trichocereus species described by Friedrich Ritter. It might be synonymous with Trichocereus chalaensis, or at least related to it in some form. There are also Peruvianoids that are sold under this name and I occasionally encountered Trichocereus fulvilanus being sold under this name as well. The whole complex is chaotic and it´s hard to verify which plant Ritter´s description was covering.
Trichocereus glaucus – Foto: Friedrich Ritter
Origin of Trichocereus glaucus:
Peru ( South Peru ), Arequipa (Rio Tambo), Chile. In Chile, this plant is closely related to Trichocereus fulvilanus and Trichocereus deserticolus.
Description of Trichocereus glaucus / Echinopsis glauca:
Trichocereus glaucuscan get between 1,5-2 meters tall and is a prostrate/creeping species that you often find hanging down slopes and cliffs. This trait is very distinct in the variety Trichocereus glaucus var. pendens. The color of the skin is very glaucous and small specimens look absolutely like the type of plants that are labeled Trichocereus macrogonus / Echinopsis macrogona today. Spiny, dark blue versions from the complex around T. peruvianus. However, macrogonus grows columnar while this species tends to bend over with age. New growth is very glaucous.
Areoles of Echinopsis glauca:
The areoles are dark brown to gray in color and approximately 2,5 centimeters apart of each other. Similar to other plants related to Trichocereus peruvianus, the plant has a diameter of up to 10 centimeters and the areoles are gray felted. The spines look a bit like the ones on Trichocereus cuzcoensisand old growth has a typical satin white glow that is common on this species. Trichocereus glaucus has 6-9 ribs, 3-6 middle spines and 8-11 radial spines. The middle spines are 5-10 centimeters and the radial spines 1-2 centimeters long. New spine growth is black to brown and turns gray with age.
Flowers of T. glaucus:
White, just like almost every other Trichocereus from this complex. The diameter is very variable and usually is between 15-22 centimeters. Trichocereus glaucus is a night-flowering species with green, round fruits. However, the hairy flowers usually stay open until the next morning.
Fruit of E. glauca:
Round, green, and 3 centimeters thick.
Type locality: Lower part of the Rio Tambo in the department Arequipa.
Trichocereus glaucus is very similar to Trichocereus chalaensisand grows in a similar way. We think that Trichocereus chalaensis might be synonymous with Ritter´s Trichocereus glaucus. Ritter´s field number of Trichocereus glaucus was FR270. We distributed seeds of Trichocereus glaucus various times in the past and all ended up amazingly beautiful. It´s a very nice species.
Buy Trichocereus glaucus seeds:
Trichocereus glaucus aka Echinopsis glauca is extremely rare and most plants on the market will probably come labeled as “Trichocereus peruvianus” or “Trichocereus macrogonus”. It is common occurence for some Peruvian cactus collectors to label all glaucous Trichocereus species with this name. This is obviously wrong and causes chaos. We sometimes have plants of this species in our Trichocereus Facebook group, which can be found here: https://facebook.com/groups/trichocereus
Cultivation of Echinopsis glauca:
Trichocereus glaucus is a very resilient grower and likes to be watered well in summer. In winter, they should be kept as dry as possible at around 10° Celsius. Seed germinates very well and the plant is usually very tough. That´s also caused by its drought tolerance, which is very typical for these kinds of plants. The species will probably tolerate temperatures between -5° to -7° Celsius over very short time, but I would not stress it and this also depends on many other factors, like general health and dryness. I would recommend keeping at no lower than 10° Celsius in winter.
Varieties of E. glauca: Trichocereus glaucus var. pendens. This variety does only grow hanging down cliffs and small hills. This variety only grows at one location in Chile and is extremely rare. This local population is in the south of Arica, Camarca in Chile. Backeberg suggested that this would be his Trichocereus uyumpaensis, but Friedrich Ritter vehemently disagreed with that. More information is necessary about this topic.
Below: Trichocereus Glaucus – Fotos: Auxin
Translation of Ritter´s description (loosely)
This species forms shrubs the size of 1 – 2 meters and often several meters in diameter, sprouting mainly from shoots that lay sideways on the ground. This plant rarely pups from the top or upper parts. The shoots are 5 – 8 inches thick, erect, later lying in the lower parts, the new shoot blue-green, later gray-green.
Ribs: 7-9, very broad, obtuse, 7.5 to 13 mm high, 15-25 mm wide, notched, with transverse furrows that do not reach down to the separating grooves of the ribs, areoles: grey felted, 1/2-3/4 inches in diameter, 1 to 2 inches free removal, let down by the humps in the notches Spines: In the new shoot black to brown, becoming gray, straight, rigid Marginal spines: 7-10, directed laterally, the lower and lateral 8 to 15 mm long, coarse needle-shaped, somewhat flattened, the upper the upper stronger and not sharply separated from the Central spines. Central spines: 3-6, very spread apart, subulate in the middle, but usually closer to the top edge and almost in the position of an edge of spine, below 1.5 mm thick Flower: Not far from the apex, 13 to 19 centimeters long, fragrant, opening in the evening, the morning still open, Ovary: Green with fleshy green, narrowly triangular, 2-5 mm long, pointed scales and large scales raised bases. The flowers are covered with brown/black hairs. Partition against the nectar chamber 3-4 mm thick, tube-shaped, 13 to 23 mm long, to the stylus 1to 2 mm wide, brownish, almost openly, with nectar
In addition funnel shaped, 40-65 mm long, the top 2 to 3 cm wide, pale green interior, exterior gray-green, with triangular points, 7.5 to 10 mm long, dark green scales and tufts of hair as on the ovary. Stamens: white, greenish below, insertions missing on the top 2 to 3 centimeters of the tube to a ring on the hem, pouch pale brown, approximately at half height petals standing Stylus: pale green, white or pale brownish above, 10 to 11 cm in length, with 14 to 18 mm fall on the 13-16 spread pale yellow stigma lobes, between the pouches or outstanding.
German original description / Deutsche Original Beschreibung:
Büsche von 1 meter bis 2 meter höhe und oft mehreren Metern Durchmesser, sprossend hauptsächlich unten von liegenden Trieben, weniger oben sprossend. Triebe 5 bis 8 Zentimeter dick, aufrecht, später in den unteren Teilen liegend, im Neutrieb blaugrün, später mehr graugrün. Rippen: 7-9, sehr breit, stumpf, 7,5 bis 13 mm hoch, 15 bis 25 mm breit, gekerbt, mit Querfurchen, die nicht bis zu den Trennfurchen der Rippen hinabreichen, Areolen: Graufilzig, 1/2-3/4 Zentimeter Durchmesser, 1bis 2 Zentimeter freie Entfernung, , von den Höckern in die Kerben hinabreichend Stacheln: Im Neutrieb schwarz bis braun, , vergrauend, gerade, starr Randstacheln: 7 bis 10, seitlich gerichtet, die unteren und seitlichen 8 bis 15 mm lang, derb nadelförmig, etwas abgeflacht, die oberen die Oberen stärker und nicht scharf von den Mittelstacheln gesondert. Mittelstacheln: 3 bis 6, sehr gespreizt, pfriemlich in der Mitte, aber meist näher dem oberen Rand und fast in der Stellung eines Randstachels, unten 1,5 mm dick Blüte: Nicht weit weg vom Scheitel, 13 bis 19 zentimeter lang, duftend, abends öffnend, morgens noch offen, Fruchtknoten: Grün mit fleischigen grünen, schmal dreieckigen, 2-5 mm langen spitzen Schuppen und großen erhabenen Schuppenbasen. Mit starken schwarzen oder braunschwarzen Wollhaaren. Trennwand gegen die Nektarkammer 3-4 mm dick, diese tubisch, 13 bis 23 mm lang,um den Griffel 1bis 2 mm weit, bräunlich, fast offen, mit Nektar
Röhren: Darüber trichterig, 40 bis 65 mm lang, oben 2 bis 3 cm weit, innen blaß grünlich , außen graugrün, mit dreieckigen Spitzen, 7,5 bis 10 mm langen dunkelgrünen Schuppen und Haarbüscheln wie auf dem Fruchtknoten. Staubfäden: weiß, unten grünlich, Insertionen fehlen auf den obersten 2 bis 3 Zentimetern der Röhre, bis auf einen Ring auf dem Saum, Beutel blassbraun, etwa bei halber Petalen Höhe stehend Griffel: blassgrün, oben weiß oder blass bräunlich, 10 bis 11 cm lang, wovon 14 bis 18 mm auf die 13-16 gespreizten blaßgelben Narbenäste fallen, zwischen den Beuteln oder sie überragend.
Photos of Trichocereus glaucus / Echinopsis glauca
In comparison to this species, check out closely related species:
Trichocereus chalaensis is a Peruvian Trichocereus species that is closely related to Trichocereus glaucus. Its alternative Echinopsis name is Echinopsis chalaensis (Rauh & Backeberg). I treat it as a correct species in the genus Trichocereus until DNA testing is able to disprove this. Right now, the name Echinopsis chalaensis is still formally valid, but it´s just a matter of time until the new findings and decisions on the taxonomy of these former Echinopsis Trichos will lead to the official revival of the genus Trichocereus and some of its former species. I follow Joel Lodé´s system, which lists the plant as Trichocereus chalaensis (Rauh & Backeberg).
The type locality & origin: Peru, Arequipa. Chala in the south of Peru. This species was collected by various field botanists, including Friedrich Ritter & Rauh. Rauh´s collection number is “Rauh K128” and Friedrich Ritters FR number is FR1052. The type is common in the southern parts of Peru and usually grows creeping down slopes, similar to Trichocereus glaucus var. pendens. Because of that, it´s possible they are at least partially synonymous.
Sacred Succulents sold this species under a couple of different names. Trichocereus glaucus, of which there are pics of on Michael Smith´s amazing Flickr Page! Besides, they sold/sell this type as SS04 and Trichocereus chalaensis.
he description is very similar to the one of Trichocereus glaucus (Ritter) and it´s definitely possible that this is the same plant.
Description of Trichocereus chalaensis:
Trichocereus chalaensis grows like a shrub and can often be found growing prostate on rocky slopes or little hills. It can get between 3-5 meters tall and reaches a maximum diameter of up to 18 centimeters. It has 7-9 ribs and has very strong furrows. The spines are dark brown to red and extremely beautiful. The color is similar to the spines on the Trichocereus fulvilanus form of Trichocereus deserticolus / Echinopsis deserticola.
Trichocereus chalaensis has 1-3 middle spines (3-6 centimeters) and 5-11 radial spines (1-2 centimeters), depending on the region. The spines reach a maximum length of 5-7 centimeters. The plant has very strong furrows, directly above the areoles.
Flowers of E. chalaensis:
The flowers are white and look similar to the ones on Trichocereus glaucus.Trichocereus chalaensis is a night flowering species and it is self-sterile. That means that you need another plant to act as a pollen donor in order to produce seeds. Some flowers I saw were up to 20 centimeters large and up to 12 centimeters wide. But flower size differentiated greatly and the norm was around 14 centimeters. Very beautiful and well scented flowers though. Tube is about 2,5 centimeters thick, with dark brown and black hairs, sepals reddish to green in color and the petals are white.
Trichocereus chalaensis usually has a bright green color. The species is very close to Trichocereus glaucus and Friedrich Ritter considered it as a distant relative of Trichocereus chiloensis. He thought that the complex around T. glaucus/chalaensis originated from Chile and made their way by invasive evolution through large parts of south Peru. Trichocereus chalaensis is the most northern growing Trichocereus species, reaching from the southern part of the Chilean cactus west to the north all around the coast and in some parts west of the desert-belt, while all other Trichocereus were growing in the east, in much higher regions. Trichocereus chalaensis grows at around 200 meters altitude, which is really low for a Trichocereus.
Cultivation of T. chalaensis:
There is not really that much information about how to grow this plant and about its frost resistance. I know of growers that grow Trichocereus chalaensis in California indicates that it is probably similar as other Trichocereus, what would mean that it might stand short night frosts and requires a minimum average temperature of 10° Celsius. I planted some of them too this year, but they are still too small to say more or make pictures of them. I will post more pics of Trichocereus chalaensis in the next couple days.
Sources for Trichocereus chalaensis seeds:
This plant is really rare in cultivation, but there are a couple of shops and sellers that sell seed every now and then. Sacred Succulents is selling them as SS04 and as Trichocereus chalaensis but that´s about the only source I know apart from the cuttings that are actively traded in our Trichocereus Facebook group at https://facebook.com/groups/trichocereus. Most recently, Misplant has stocked some rare Trichocereus chalaensis hybrids as well.