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Trichocereus knuthianus (Echinopsis knuthiana)
Trichocereus knuthianus is a plant that can be found in many parts of Peru, but is rarely understood by most taxonomists due to the wide range that exists. There are all kinds of regional types of Trichocereus knuthianus and intermediates with Trichocereus schoenii, Trichocereus tarmaensis and Trichocereus cuzcoensis exist.
Alternative name: Echinopsis knuthiana
Synonyms: Trichocereus knuthiana, Trichocereus knuthianus, Trichocereus cuzcoensis var. knuthianus, Cereus knuthianus, Azureocereus deflexispinus, cereus deflexispinus, Trichocereus tarmaensis, Trichocereus peruvianus var. Tarma, Trichocereus crassiarboreus, Trichocereus schoenii (not all, but some of them clearly belong into the knuthianus context as well)
Though Trichocereus knuthianus is still considered a new species called Echinopsis Knuthiana, it is closely related to Trichocereus cuzcoensis and Trichocereus peruvianus. In my opinion, it falls within the range of the huge species “cuzcoensis”, which is more than just KK242.
Trichocereus knuthianus was discovered by Curt Backeberg on the upper course of the Rio Marañon. The plant was named after Graf F.M.Knuth, who was Curt Backeberg´s co-author in the book KAKTUS ABC.
Most plants that are available on the open market were originally sourced from Friedrich Ritters Seed list. His collection number of Trichocereus knuthianus was FR567, Forma pachanoi.
Besides, Trichocereus knuthianus FR 677! This Plant can be found in Collections throughout the World though it is most common in Australia. Ritter wrote that it´s probably synonymous with Trichocereus tarmaensis. In addition, he shared the opinion that Trichocereus knuthianus is actually a variety of Trichocereus cuzcoensis. Curt Backeberg, on the other hand, who discovered and named the plant after his financier, did certainly not agree with that. If the taxonomic committee would agree with Ritter, it would mean that his newly described “species” becomes invalid. But overall, Friedrich Ritter knew that plant very well and I agree with his opinion, because mature plants in habitat tend to have that tree-like rounded log-shape that you can observe on Trichocereus cuzcoensis too. Most other Trichocereus dont have such a rounded stump. Besides, Trichocereus Knuthianus is extremely similar to Trichocereus tarmaensis, which is generally regarded as some form of Trichocereus cuzcoensis as well.
Trichocereus knuthianus is very widespread and grows all around Tarma and throughout the Departments that surround it.
Title photo: SALTBUSH MC GEE
This Picture shows FR 677. Unfortunately not a very good pic: