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Trichocereus terscheckii (Echinopsis terscheckii)

Origin: Trichocereus terscheckii  is a variable species that is a catch-all name for a variety of different forms, some of which form intermediates with other species like Trichocereus atacamensis, Trichocereus taquimbalensis, Trichocereus validus and others.

Trichocereus terscheckii grows around the south of Bolivia, North Argentina (Catamarca, Tucuman, La Rioja, Jujuy, San Juan, Salta) and there are many intermediates between Trichocereus terscheckii, Trichocereus atacamensis, Trichocereus pasacana and Trichocereus validus and some of the lesser known species. The genuine Trichocereus validus is probably just a Bolivian form of Trichocereus validus, but unfortunately it is not often found in nature.

Trichocereus eerdermannianus is actually an intermediate species in between Trichocereus taquimbalensis and Trichocereus terscheckii. Overall, this is a very complex and highly controversial group of plants and only DNA testing can help to clean up the family tree that is hidden inside those beautiful tree-like plants. Personally, I think that all those Andean Trichocereus species are members of a very variable group of plants that belong together and should be treated like that.

Below you can find a description of Trichocereus terschecki, but since there are so many regional forms, there can be plants that don´t fit perfectly, but which still belong to that complex somehow. In addition, there are many natural hybrids and Trichocereus terscheckii hybridizes relatively easy.

Synonyms: Echinopsis terscheckii, Cereus terscheckii, Pilosocereus terscheckii, Cereus fulvispinus, Trichocereus validus, Echinopsis valida, Trichocereus werdermannianus, Cereus werdermannianus, Echinopsis werdermannianus, Cereus validissimus. Besides, some forms of Trichocereus pasacana and Trichocereus atacamensis are synonymous with Trichocereus terscheckii too.

Varieties: In the past, there were descriptions of a plant called Trichocereus terscheckiioides which differed in regard to the phenotype and Trichocereus terscheckii var. montanus.

Cultivation: Trichocereus terscheckii is an amazing plant in culture. They grow very slow compared to other Trichos and don’t require a lot of water. I usually try to give them as much free root run as possible, what is important for their ability to flower. Their growth rate depends on many things, like how they are grown, hoch much water & fertilizer they get, and so on. Plants in habitat grow very slow and sometimes take 50 years to reach a good size. Their mature form is totally different to what they look like as seedlings.

Description: They start off as typical columnar cacti that are pretty fat for their small size and get very big and tall later on. It takes many years till this species produces its characteristic side arms. Trichocereus terscheckii can reach a size of 10-15 meters and a diameter of up to 60 centimeters.

Ribs: 8-15

Areoles: Approx. 2 centimeters in diameter and up to 3-4 centimeters apart from each other.

Spines: 10-16 spines, yellow and up to 10 centimeters long

Flower: White, 15-22 centimeters long, 14 centimeters wide, petals up to 8 centimeters. Tube covered with brown, woolly hair. The variety Trichocereus montanus was said to be less branchy and grew more like a typical columnar. Besides it had a larger diameter. I personally do not accept any varieties because I think that this is just a crazily variable species.

Trichocereus terscheckii and Frost: Trichocereus terscheckii is quite cold hardy and even survives in some areas in the United States. Personally, I would recommend a minimum average temperature of 10° Celsius/50 Fahrenheit, but they are known to survive short night frosts without a problem. However, temperatures should never go below -9°/15.8 Fahrenheit, especially not when they have wet feet. It is also important to keep away rain and moisture during the cold months, because the rain is probably a bigger problem that the cold temperatures. Those plants can stand the cold, but as soon as it´s cold and wet, it´s starting to get dangerous.

Trichocereus terscheckii from Seed: This species is very easy from seed. It requires the same treatment as any other Trichocereus species, but keeping the seed cold over night can help to break up the dormancy. The seed is usually viable for many years and I am sure you can get some Germination as long as the seed does not get older than 10 years. But you get the best germination rates within the first year. Make sure not to sow out too many of them at once, because they become quite fat and need enough space.

Trichocereus terscheckii Seed & live cutting sources: This plant sometimes shows up on Ebay as live cuttings, plants or seeds. You can get a nice strain of Trichocereus terscheckii here in my shop:

Photos of Trichocereus terscheckii

Trichocereus Terscheckii Intermediate

The photo above shows a T. werdermannianus, which is an intermediate between T. terscheckii and T. taquimbalensis.


Pic: Peter A. Manfeld

Trichocereus_terscheckii_(close-up) (1)

Pic: Pangopaso


Trichocereus terscheckii
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Trichocereus pasacana – Echinopsis atacamensis ssp.pasacana

Trichocereus pascana, also known as Echinopsis atacamensis ssp.pasacana, is a columnar cactus that can be found growing throughout the Andes.

Synonyms of Trichocereus pasacana:

Helianthocereus pasacana, Cereus pasacana, Pilosocereus pasacana, Echinopsis atacamensis, Echinopsis rivierii, , Echinopsis formosima, Trichocereus atacamensis ssp.pasacana, Echinopsis pasacana


Trichocereus pasacana is a tree-like cactus that gets up to 10 meters tall though the average height is usually a lot less. It can reach a diameter of 30-45 centimeters and has between 18-22 ribs. It has a lot of small, needle-like spines that can get up to 10-15 centimeters in length. The mature form looks a lot different to its early appearance. The spines are yellow in color and their length is decreasing during the life cycle of the plant. Old plants tend to have lesser spines that young ones and the early spine form is a lot stronger that the adult form.


The flower is white. 10-15 centimeters long. The flower has hairs on most parts and covered with a dark brown wool.


Round, up to 3 centimeters large.


Argentina, Catamarca, Jujuy, Tucuman, Salta and some parts of Bolivia.

There are different varieties of this plant and some tend to branch more than the others that grow like trees. The overall appearance of this plant is extremely variable and there are many intermediate tips between Trichocereus Pasacana, Trichocereus Terscheckii and Trichocereus Atacamensis. Because of that, most descriptions only cover certain varieties of this plant.

Close genetic proximity to other species

Trichocereus Pasacana is 0ne of those plants that are making it hard to draw the line. Backeberg considered this plant to belong into his own described Genus “HELIANTHOCEREUS” which divided the Day flowering from the Night flowering Plants but that was not accepted and reversed very soon after. The new taxonomic name of Trichocereus Pasacana is Echinopsis Atacamensis ssp. Pasacana, though I think Hunt decided to re-position the whole thing in Trichocereus. No matter what, it´s a remarkable plant that is extremely impressive. And the differences between Trichocereus Pasacana and Trichocereus Atacamensis are so minor that it is very likely that Pasacana is just a Variety of Trichocereus Atacamensis, which has priority. The difference between both types is that Trichocereus Pasacana tends to grow branched, while Trichocereus Atacamensis grows more like a tree. Trichocereus Pasacana is also called Cardon Grande, because of its large and mindblowing appearance!


Trichocereus Pasacana is a slow growing Tricho that should not be watered too much. It likes a little water every now and then in summer, but only when it´s actively growing. They should not be watered when it´s cold or rainy. Trichocereus Pasacana makes an extremely beautiful gardne plant but can get really big, so it´s actually only probable to grow them in a greenhouse that is heated all year long or in countries where they can grow outside. They usually produce very large root balls and if you grow them in a pot, it will get really heavy very soon.

Frost Tolerance Trichocereus pasacana:

The most important factor that influences frost tolerance is the wetness of the soil. Trichocereus Pasacana can tolerate very low temperatures for short periods of time. -5° celsius should be the limit though because low temperatures can cause the plant to rot. The minimum average temperature is around 10° celsius/50° Fahrenheit. It may even be possible for them to survive short night frosts lower than -5° celsius but I would absolutely not recommend it because it can leave permanent damage that doesn´t immediately show. But again, the plants HAVE to be dry over winter, no matter what. Personally, I don’t grow those Trichos in Europe because they just tend to get so massive that its hard to carry the pot.

Growing Trichocereus pasacana from seed: 

Trichocereus Pasacana is very easy from seed and requires the same treatment as Trichocereus Terscheckii. It helps to allow the seeds to cool down during the night to increase germination rates. But the minimum temperature required to germinate them is between 25° and 29° celsius. The seedlings don’t need that much water and can germinate with very little. The nutrients stored in the seed corn will allow the seedlings to grow a couple of months without fertilizer. But after then, you should fertilize them with a very weak fertilizer solution. VERY WEAK is the important word, or they might die because of fertilizer burns, which looks similar to sunburn.

Live plant & seed sources:

Most seeds on the market have a crappy quality and there are very little professionals who sell this type of seed. The fact that those plants have to reach a very large size before they flower leads to very little growers giving away some seeds. But every now and then, private growers in our Trichocereus Group give away some seed. Apart from that, you can get live cuttings on various places, including Ebay, Amazon and online nurseries. Often times, cuttings sold as Trichocereus Pasacana are actually Trichocereus Terscheckii, which is caused by their similarity at a young age. There are very little differences you can keep them apart.

Trichocereus pasacana for sale

Trichocereus pasacana is rarely for sale, but you can sometimes get lucky by obtaining a cutting from fellow growers who cut back their gigantic mother plants. If you want to buy a Trichocereus pasacana, you usually get very small plants and seedlings that will take many years to get tall. A large Trichocereus pasacana mother plant can cost 1000 bucks and more if you buy it from a professional landscaper.

Trichocereus pasacana - Echinopsis atacamensis ssp.pasacana 1

This is an adult type that rarely branches, Pic: Prier

Trichocereus pasacana - Echinopsis atacamensis ssp.pasacana 2

This is a very typical, juvenile form! Pic: Prier

Trichocereus pasacana - Echinopsis atacamensis ssp.pasacana 33

Pic: Tangopaso

Trichocereus pasacana - Echinopsis atacamensis ssp.pasacana 4

Nice pic of an adult form, including flowers and fruits. Pic: Mourial

Trichocereus pasacana - Echinopsis atacamensis ssp.pasacana 6

Very few spines on this mature form, Pic: Toth 1

Trichocereus pasacana - Echinopsis atacamensis ssp.pasacana 8

Trichocereus Pasacana is also used as fencing. Or, as Doors. Pic: Mourial

Trichocereus pasacana - Echinopsis atacamensis ssp.pasacana 9

Pic: Thanks to Prier for these amazing pics!

Dawsons Trichocereus pasacana
Rodni Kisar
Trichocereus pasacana Echinopsis atacamensis 1
Trichocereus pasacana Echinopsis atacamensis 1 2
Trichocereus pasacana Echinopsis atacamensis 1 4
Trichocereus pasacana Echinopsis atacamensis 1 87
Trichocereus pasacana Echinopsis atacamensis 1 22
Trichocereus pasacana Echinopsis atacamensis 132

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: