Trichocereus peruvianus Echinopsis peruviana

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Trichocereus peruvianus Echinopsis peruviana

Trichocereus peruvianus or Echinopsis peruviana is a columnar cactus that can get up to 4 meters long and reaches 20 centimeters in diameter. It´s also called the PERUVIAN TORCH cactus and is native in Peru. Britton and Rose – The Cact. II, S.136 /1920

If you are looking for Trichocereus peruvianus seeds, I have a very cool Matucana Peruvianus in my shop which is true to the description and will blow you away when you see them in 5-10 years from now on.

 

Description: Most varieties have a frosted blue color and grow between 6-9 ribs. It usually flowers in white, though there are some varieties that have a different color (Trichocereus tulhuayacensis). It usually grows upright, but sometimes bends over and grows hanging down from cliffs and rocks.
The size and color of the spines vary greatly, but most of them have about 6-8 honey-colored to brown spines that can reach about 4 centimeters in length. The areoles are brown to beige-felted and up to 2,5 centimeters distanced from each other. The Spines do NOT have a knobbed Base.
Echinopsis peruviana flowers very easily as soon as it reaches a certain size and the Plant is very easy to cultivate. Some of them have a distinct V-Notch above the areoles.

Cultivation:

Trichocereus peruvianus can be grown from seed 0r propagated by cuttings. Seeds need to be sprinkled on top of the soil because they require sunlight to germinate. The seeds are tiny and only a few mm large and have a long viability. Usually, the seeds can stay viable for up to 10 years or above, though that depends on many factors. The Seed needs to be stored in a dry and cold environment to guarantee maximum viability.

The cactus can also be propagated through cuttings and it´s very easy to root. But make sure that the cuttings are not smaller than 20 centimeters because that stunts the growth tremendously.

Flower:

The flower is white and reaches as size of up to 25 centimeters. Trichocereus peruvianus is a night flowering species.

Location of the Typus:

Peru (around Matucana).

Names:

Peruvian Torch, San Pedro, San Pedro Macho, San Pedro Cactus (Though this usually applies to the species Trichocereus pachanoi), Hualtu, Giganton

Trichocereus Peruvianus Synonyms:

Trichocereus macrogonus, Trichocereus tulhuyacensis, Trichocereus tacnaensis, Trichocereus puquiensis, Trichocereus santaensis (some of the plants around the Santa Valley belong to Tr. pachanoi though), Trichocereus tarmaensis, Trichocereus glaucus, Trichocereus macrogonus, Echinopsis macrogona, Trichocereus f. Ancash, Trichocereus cuzcoensis, Echinopsis cuzcoensis, Trichocereus knuthianus, Trichocereus sp. Ayacucho, Trichocereus giganteus, Trichocereus longispinus, Trichocereus sp. Pamacoche, Trichocereus sp. Matucana, Trichocereus rosei, Trichocereus longispina,

Trichocereus peruvianus and Trichocereus pachanoi are so varied that it´s very likely that they are the same species. There are countless Intermediates and hybrids where both species´grow together and spines and color of the epidermis are very variable as well. I have included a large number of varieties as synonyms, but i still divide them on the website to keep track of all the regional types. Personally, I would lump them all together in just a few remaining species and modern taxonomy goes into this direction as well. Around 1950-1980, cactus botanists made up a lot of species that would no longer stand using modern taxonomy. I will also add a large list of varieties as time permits.

Varieties:

Trichocereus peruvianus var. (H14192), Huntington, EE.UU.
Trichocereus peruvianus var. huancabamba, Piura, northwest Peru.
Trichocereus peruvianus var. huancavelica (KK242a), west central Peru.
Trichocereus peruvianus var. cuzcoensis (KK340), Huachac, Cuzco, southeastern Peru.

Trichocereus peruvianus var. huancayo (KK338), west central Peru.
Trichocereus peruvianus var. ancash (KK1688), San Marcos, Ancash, northwest Peru.
Trichocereus peruvianus var. matucana (KK242) Lima, central west Peru.
Trichocereus peruvianus var. puquiensis (KK1689), Puquio, Apurimac Region, southwestern peru.
Trichocereus peruvianus var. trujilloensis, Trujillo, La Libertad, northwestern Peru.
Trichocereus peruvianus var. tarmensis (KK2148), Tarma, Junin, west central Peru.
Trichocereus peruvianus var. Rio Lurin (KK2147), Rio Rimac, Lima, west central Peru.
Trichocereus peruvianus var. ayacuchensis (KK2151), southwestern Peru.
Trichocereus peruvianus var. huaraz (KK2152), Ancash, northwestern Peru.

Culture: The culture of Trichocereus peruvianus is not very hard. The plant has very similar requirements as other Trichocereus species like Trichocereus macrogonus or Trichocereus pachanoi. Both cacti are also known as SAN PEDRO or PERUVIAN TORCH! Trichocereus peruvianus is an extremely frost resistant plant that can thrive in the most difficult environment. Some of its varieties grow columnar while some others are creeping. In their natural habitats, they even hang down on hills or rocky slopes. What you should not do is keeping the soil wet for more than a couple of hours because that is like asking for rot. Cacti needs a substrate that dries out fast and cant stand it when they are given too much water. You should only water Trichocereus peruvianus in summer, when it´s hot! During the hot growth-season, they can take daily or weekly watering and like to be fertilized on a 14-days schedule. But that also depends on your personal way of growing cacti. It´s best to use a mineral substrate like Pumice or Sand. Just make sure to add in a very small part of humus because it helps to solidify the soil and increases the cactus ability to take in nutrients. But yeah, some friends of mine use nothing but pumice and their plants look great! Echinopsis peruviana aka Trichocereus peruvianus likes a sunny place in half-shade, but NOT full sun. They can take it if they are used to it, but it increases the risk of sunburn. Especially directly after the winter period when they are not used to it yet.

Winter & Frost Protection: Trichocereus peruvianus is an extremely frost hardy cactus. It´s usually not a problem for it to take take a little night frost here and there and is tolerant down to -9° Celsius. But that´s really the limit and I would not be comfortable to push it, because some plants are less frost tolerant than others and you never know what yours is like. A plant that spent its life in a heated greenhouse, will die very soon if you suddenly start exposing it to cold winter frost. The cacti need to be hardened up and in a good general health.

Minimum average temperature: Trichocereus peruvianus needs an average temperature of 10° Celsius. It can compensate short frosts down to 15.8° Fahrenheit every now and then but you should take care that it has an average temperature of around 50° Fahrenheit.

Winter storage & Winter Protection: Trichocereus Peruvianus needs fresh air during the wintertime if you want to overwinter the plant inside. It also needs light and the soil has to be completely dry, to make sure that the rootstock does not rot. This is important because that´s exactly what happens in the habitat during the wintertime. Trichocereus Peruvianus can deal with low temperatures as long as its dry.  Of course all those overwintering-rules only apply of you live in a country with hard winter frost down to -20° celsius and lower. If you live in a warmer country such as Australia, this certainly is not a problem for you. I also know many growers from the CA area in the USA, and they usually get their plants over the winter without problems, if they do nor get surprisingly cold frosts. Leave your Trichocereus Peruvianus in a bright room, give it a little bit fresh air every now and then and make sure to keep the temperatures below 10° celsius. As soon as you put them in a heated room, they will require regular waterings and light or they will die quickly. Their water requirements if kept dry are minimal though. The minimum temp in Fahrenheit is 50° Fahrenheit. No water should be given between late autumn (October-early May).
If you are lucky enough to have a greenhouse, you can take out most Trichocereus in early May, but you should also check the maximum frost tolerance of the species you take out, because especially some texan miniature cacti or brazilian Pilosocereus need higher temperatures to stay healthy.

Germinating Trichocereus peruvianus seeds: Just like Seed of other Trichocereus species, Trichocereus peruvianus seeds need light to germinate. So you make a 50/50 mix of sowing soil/Coarse sharp sand and sprinkle the seeds on top of the soil. Make sure not to knock off the sowing container/pot because that would probably bury the seeds and that´s never a good thing because they either do not germinate because of the lacking light or they germinate deep inside the soil and die. So yeah, sprinkle them on top of the soil and make sure that the temperatures are between 26° and 30° Celsius. Make sure to add in enough water to start the germination process. However, it does not take a lot of water to kick start the germination and it´s always better to give very little water early on because you can always add in some more. But if you add too much water in the beginning, it cannot be undone without risking to wash away the seed with the excess water. So yeah, give very little water, put it in a bright and warm place and wait. A window works perfectly. You can also use a LED lamp to give them enough light to germinate. Adding a decent LED Lamp (like 100 Watt and above) will increase germination rates dramatically. I had better results with red light than with blue light but that could as well have been a coincidence.

Seed Sources: There are many seed sources for Trichocereus Peruvianus. I have one of the best types on the market in the shop!

However, there are very little sources that sell quality seed. Some seed wholesalers have pretty good germination rates while some others from Peru offer seed that is pretty much dead. I know people who spent thousands of dollars for seed and ended up with a handful of germinating seedlings. I do not want to name those suppliers but I can tell you the ones I only heard good things about.

Best Trichocereus seed on the market comes from Misplan.net. Apart from mine of course. 😉
He is really trying very hard to have the best seed on the market and he´s hard to beat. Besides, I know that ICARO DNA & SAB are selling authentic and very good quality Trichocereus seeds. And every now and then, you can find good seed sources on our Trichocereus Facebook group.

The problem with seeds is that some shops resell seed from South America wholesalers that sell over-aged seed. So the shops might not know about the bad germination rates that their seeds have and that´s a real problem with Trichocereus peruvianus seed on the market. If you did everything I just mentioned and your seed does not germinate within like 2-6 weeks, it´s most likely dead. It does not help to keep it wet for longer than that because that´s not how germination of cactus seeds works. You can let it dry out and restart the germination cycle over and over again but it does not help to keep dead seed in germination chambers for 6+ weeks. Another problem that you can get with commercial seed is that some people sell misidentified seed. Just because they don´t know better; or even worse, because they want to increase profit. That is rare and it usually happens more often with plants. Many Trichocereus cuzcoensis are sold as Trichocereus peruvianus. Many people would not even know the difference so this is a very common thing and I know many seed sources that sell Cuzcoensis seed as Trichocereus peruvianus. One of the reasons is that Trichocereus cuzcoensis is actually Trichocereus peruvianus under the new taxonomy. On the other hand, sometimes, there are great types sold as Trichocereus cuzcoensis.

You never know and you never know what you get. If you can get in touch with the seed producer, send them a message and ask about a pic of the mother plant. That way, you can minimize the risk of getting mislabeled seed.

Seed Viability of Echinopsis peruviana/ Trichocereus peruvianus:

The seed of Trichocereus peruvianus is viable for many, many years. I sometimes successfully germinate seeds that are more than 5-10 years old but it always depends on the storage and the seed. Some are dead within a couple of months while some can even stay viable for decades, like Ariocarpus seeds. The bigger the seed, the longer they are viable btw. Rebutia are dead within a couple of weeks, Trichocereus & Echinopsis 5-10 years, Ariocarpus 10+ years, Echinocereus (5-10 years), Lophophora (2-5 years at max).

 

Trichocereus peruvianus by Randy

T.peru Roseii1 Flower_2

T.peru Woolunda Flower_1

T.peru Woolunda Flower_2

T.peru Roseii2 flower

T.peru Roseii 1_1

This is one of Misplant´s mother plants. You can get some seed here!

trichocereus Peruvianus misplant Peru-3

Another one of Misplant´s mother plants. You can get it´s seed here!

trichocereus Peruvianus misplant Peru-4

trichocereus Peruvianus misplant-5

This is Backebergs Description:

Trichocereus peruvianus Br. &
R. — The Cact., II : 136. 1920
Cereus rosei Werd., in Backeberg,
„Neue Kakteen“, 101.
1931.
Entweder ± aufrecht oder überliegend
bis hängend, 2—4 m lang;
Tr. bis 20 cm ∅, anfangs bereift;
Rippen über den Areolen etwas eingesenkt
und ± höckerig erscheinend,
breit-rund; Areolen bis 2,5 cm entfernt,
ziemlich groß, braunfilzig; St.
zuerst braun, ca. 10, einige bis 4 cm
lang, stark und steif, Basis nicht
verdickt; Bl. weiß, groß, zum Teil
zahlreich nach dem Scheitel zu entwickelt.
— P e r u (bei Matucana;
nach Rauh bis oberhalb von Matucana
bzw. bei Tamboraque an der
Lima—Oroya-Bahn bis auf 2800 m)
(Abb. 1059—1060, Tafel 76).
Britton u. Rose bilden mit ihrer
Fig. 197 einen baumartig aufrechten
Cereus ab, Rauh dagegen einen
hängenden; ich selbst fand die Art
anfangs ± aufrecht, dann überliegend
bis niederliegend. Es kommen bei
Matucana aber auch Exemplare des
aufrechten T. santaensis vor, den
Britton u. Rose wohl nicht als besondere
Art erkannten.
Die Identifizierung dieser Art mit
Tr. macrogonus (Kkde., 20. 1941)
kann ich nicht aufrechterhalten.

And Friedrich Ritters:

T R I C H O C E R E U S (BERGER) RICCOBONO 1909
TRICHOCEREUS PACHANOI BR. & R. 1920 The Cactaceae, Bd. 2, S. 134
und
TRICHOCEREUS PACHANOI FORMA PERUVIANUS RITT. comb. nov.
syn. TRICHOCEREUS PERUVIANUS BR. & R. 1920 The Cactaceae, Bd. 2, S. 136
Für TRICHOCER. PACHANOI geben BR. & R. als Typusort an CUENCA, Ecuador,
für TRICHOCER. PERUVIANUS MATUCANA, Peru. In Wahrheit liegt nur
eine Art vor. ROSE war jedenfalls ungenügend orientiert Über die große
Variationsbreite dieser Art in Bestachlung und Areolengröße. Man kann
TRICHOCER. PERUVIANUS nur als eine Form der PACHANOI ansehen, die entweder
allein oder mit letzterer an gleichen Stellen wächst von Ecuador
bis Mittelperu, und zwar mit Übergangsformen in einander. Für die Form
PACHANOI sind typisch Ar. von 3-5 mm Dm., feine Rst. von wenigen mm
Länge und meist nur 1 Mst. von wenigen mm bis zu etwa 2 cm Länge. Oft
fehlen die St. völlig, oder sie sind nur an jüngeren Pflanzen vorhanden
und fehlen an älteren Köpfen. Formen, welche Ar. von etwa 5 bis
nahezu 10 mm Dm. haben und stärkere St., von denen der mittlere meist
über 2 cm Länge hat und selten bis über 10 cm Länge erreichen kann,
wird man als FORMA PERUVIANUS bezeichnen. Die Zahl der St. kann bei
beiden Formen bis auf etwa 10 gehen, die Anordnung der St. und das
Größenverhältnis zwischen Rst. zu Mst. ist bei beiden Formen dasselbe,
Mst. sind nur einer vorhanden, seltener 2-3. Die St. beider Formen
sind nur unterschieden durch Länge und Dicke; es mag also vielleicht
für beide Formen nur je ein Allel eines einzigen Gen vorliegen, so daß
eine Weiterführung des Namens PERUVIANUS als forma wohl nur aus Tradition
zu rechtfertigen ist, wegen der Zweiteilung der Art durch Br. & R.,
denn solche Erbformen pflegt man an sich nicht taxonomisch zu benennen.
Da eine genaue Bl.-Beschreibung nie erfolgte, gebe ich hier eine
solche von einer Bl. (mit Foto) eines Exemplars östlich von SAMNE, Prov.
OTUSCO, Depart. La Libertad, wo beide Formen mit Übergängen zusammen
wachsen. Bl. seitlich, nicht sehr weit unter dem Triescheitel, ziemlich
waagerecht vom Trieb abstehend, 21 cm lang, mit einer Weite zwischen
den äußersten Krbl. von ca 20 cm. Über dem Frkn. ist die Rö. leicht
nach oben gebogen, während die Öffnung der Rö. wieder leicht nach unten
gebogen ist. Frkn. 22 mm lang und dick, grün, gehöckert, mit schmalen
grünen Schuppen von unten 1 mm bis oben ca 4 mm Länge und mit reichlichen
schwarzbraunen Wollhaaren. N.-K. 23 mm lang, aber nur etwa 5 mm
weit um den Gr., blaß bräunlich, mit etwas Nektar. Rö. darüber 8 cm
lang, Öffnung 4,5 mm weit, mit 6 mm (unten) bis 25 mm (oben) langen
graugrünen Schuppen und schwarzen, 15-25 mm langen Wollbüscheln. Stbf.
blaßgrün, nach den Enden hellgelb, der Rö. aufliegend, 8-10 cm lang,
die des Saumes 4,5 cm lang, Insertionslücke 4 cm lang unter dem Saum,
Beutel brauncreme, 2,5 mm lang, 1 mm breit, Pollen weiß. Gr. blaßgrün,
19,5 cm lang, wovon 3 cm auf die 15 hellgelben, überragenden Narbenlappen
kommen. Innere Krbl. weiß, 9-10 cm lang, 3,5-4 cm breit, bei etwa 2/3 Länge am breitesten, oben gerundet mit aufgesetzter hellgelber
Spitze; äußere Krbl. 8-11 cm lang, 14-18 mm breit, fast von unten
ab zugespitzt, nach unten hellgrün, nach den Enden rotbraun, stark
nach außen gebogen. Einige Samenangaben siehe unter TRICHOCER. KNUTHIANUS.
Nr. FR 567 (Form PACHANOI) und Nr. FR 155 (Form PERUVIANUS).
Abb. 1186.

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