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Trichocereus glaucus – Echinopsis glauca

Trichocereus glaucus Echinopsis glauca Rodni Kisar

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 Echinopsis glauca Friedrich Ritter original photo
Friedrich Ritter original photo

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 glaucus Echinopsis glauca Auxin photo

Trichocereus glaucus can 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 cuzcoensis and 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 chalaensis and 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

Trichocereus glaucus Echinopsis glauca Auxin photo 2

Trichocereus glaucus Echinopsis glauca Auxin photo EG4

Trichocereus glaucus Echinopsis glauca Auxin photo EG3

Trichocereus glaucus Echinopsis glauca Auxin photo EG2

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

Tubes:

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

Trichocereus glaucus Sacred Succulents Jeffrey Alaback (2)
Jeff Alaback / The version of Trichocereus glaucus from Sacred Succulents
Trichocereus glaucus Sacred Succulents Jeffrey Alaback
Jeff Alaback
Trichocereus glaucus Echinopsis glauca Patrick Noll 2
Patrick Noll
Trichocereus glaucus Echinopsis glauca Wild Andes Jeremy Jones
Jeremy Jones
Trichocereus glaucus Echinopsis glauca Wild Andes Jeremy Jones (4) 2
Jeremy Jones
Trichocereus glaucus Echinopsis glauca Wild Andes Jeremy Jones (3)
Jeremy Jones
Trichocereus glaucus Echinopsis glauca Wild Andes Jeremy Jones (2)
Jeremy Jones
Trichocereus glaucus Echinopsis glauca Patrick Noll
Patrick Noll
Trichocereus glaucus KK336 Delia Kisar (3)
Delia Kisar
Trichocereus glaucus KK336 Delia Kisar (2)
Delia Kisar
Trichocereus glaucus KK336 Delia Kisar
Delia Kisar
Trichocereus glaucus Echinopsis glauca Sams Plants (2)
Sams Plants
Trichocereus glaucus Echinopsis glauca Sams Plants
Trichocereus glaucus Echinopsis glauca Sebastian Preiss
Sebastian Preiss
Trichocereus glaucus Echinopsis glauca KK336
Patrick Noll
Trichocereus glaucus Echinopsis glauca Rodni Kisar
Rodni Kisar
Trichocereus glaucus Echinopsis glauca v. pendens Cactus Affinity
Cactus Affinity T. glaucus v. pendens
Trichocereus glaucus Echinopsis glauca Sams Plants (3)
Sams Plants

In comparison to this species, check out closely related species:

Trichocereus chalaensis Cactus Affinity Echinopsis chalaensis
Trichocereus chalaensis Cactus Affinity Echinopsis chalaensis
Trichocereus deserticolus Leonora Enking Echinopsis deserticola
Trichocereus deserticolus Leonora Enking Echinopsis deserticola
Trichocereus fulvilanus Michael Wolf Echinopsis fulvilana
Trichocereus fulvilanus Michael Wolf Echinopsis fulvilana
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Trichocereus chalaensis (Rauh & Backeberg) Echinopsis

Trichocereus chalaensis Backeberg

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.

Synonyms of Echinopsis chalaensis:

Trichocereus chalaensis, Echinopsis chalaensis, SS04, Trichocereus glaucus, Trichocereus glaucus var. pendens, Trichocereus lucernatus,

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.

trichocereus chalaensis original photo Curt Backeberg Echinopsis


Trichocereus Chalaensis P.C. Hutchison in Arequipa, Caraveli, Peru Cactus Affinity

Pics: Tricho Nest from http://cactusaffinity.com

Trichocereus chalaensis 61.0780 Berkeley Botanical Garden Cactus Affinity Echinopsis
Trichocereus 61.0780 Berkeley Botanical Garden Cactus Affinity Echinopsis

Pics: Tricho Nest from http://cactusaffinity.com

Trichocereus Chalaensis Berkley botanical garden Echinopsis
Trichocereus chalaensis 61.0780 Berkeley Botanical Garden Cactus Affinity
Trichocereus chalaensis Cactus Affinity Echinopsis 33
Trichocereus chalaensis Cactus Affinity Echinopsis chalaensis
Trichocereus chalaensis Cactus Affinity Echinopsis chalaensis 55

Photos from http://cactusaffinity.com

Trichocereus chalaensis SS04 Echinopsis chalaensis Caleb Pasour
Trichocereus chalaensis SS04 Echinopsis chalaensis Caleb Pasour
Trichocereus chalaensis SS04 Echinopsis chalaensis Caleb Pasour 22
Trichocereus SS04 Echinopsis Caleb Pasour 2
Trichocereus chalaensis x TPM Jasper Plant
Trichocereus chalaensis x TPM Jasper Plant
Trichocereus chalaensis Echinopsis chalaensis Cactus Affinity
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KK336 Trichocereus glaucus – Echinopsis glauca

I am totally not sure if Knize´s Trichocereus glaucus is actually the same plant that Friedrich Ritter described as Trichocereus glaucus. Here is what I have about Knize´s KK336. He sold the plant for a very long time and collected them at various sites. The first one was sold through Knize 1999 seed list and is supposedly from Rio Tambo at around 1500 meters. The plants look totally different to what Ritter described so I am not sure how Knize got the idea that KK336 is actually a Glaucus. I assume it was only based on the glaucous epidermis, which is really very blue. He also sold it through the 2004 seed list using the remark “Rio Tambo, Arequipa, Peru”.

I am sure that there are many of those KK336 on the open market but most of them are probably labeled as Trichocereus peruvianus, Macrogonus or Pachanoi. All plants that I ever came across with the label Trichocereus glaucus were more or less glaucous Perus.

The KK336 is definitely one of the coolest San Pedros that I´ve ever seen and it reminds me a lot of the dark blue Peruvianus from Matucana.

Where to buy seeds or plants of KK336: There sometimes are some american shops that sell this type on ebay. It´s been a while since I last saw one but they are definitely out there. Either as Trichocereus Glaucus, Macrogonus or Peruvianus. Knize also sold it as seed and live cuttings but I wrote about the shipping problems with him before.

Photos of Trichocereus KK336

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KK336_7_jpg

KK336_9_jpg

KK336_91_jpg
KK336_94_jpg

KK336_96_jpg
KK336_97_jpg

KK336_98_jpg

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

And Trichocereus bridgesii here:

Trichocereus scopulicola

Also check out our Trichocereus Facebook group here:

https://facebook.com/groups/trichocereus