Trichocereus thelegonus, also known as Echinopsis thelegona, is a columnar Trichocereus species from Argentina.
Pic: Noah Reams
Argentina, Tucumán, Salta, 5500-1100 meters altitude
Trichocereus thelegona, Trichocereus thelegonus, Echinopsis thelegonus, Echinopsis thelegona, Cereus thelegona, Cereus thelegonus
Trichocereus thelegonus is a branchy & creeping cactus that only produces a handful of shoots. It can reach a maximal height of approximately 2.2 meters and can get up to 10 centimeters in diameter. But that´s only the case on very old plants and most of them get 6 – 8 cm in diameter. The plant has 12-13 ribs and is characterized by its very dominant areoles that sit in top of some extremely hexagonal warts. It´s look is very typical and once you got used to the plant, it´s very hard to overlook or misidentify it.
Trichocerus thelegonus has rounded areoles and yellow to dark/brown spines. There also are regional types that rather have a reddish spine color instead of the brown one. Old growth tends to change its color to a more blackish tone, similar to how it can be observed on Trichocereus cuzcoensis. That said, both are really not very similar and this interesting plant from Argentina rather resembles a hanging basket cactus, than a classic columnar. Tr. thelegonus / Echinopsis thelegona usually has one and, in some very rare cases, two middle spines and between 5-8 radial spines that can reach up to 2,5 centimeters in length.
Trichocereus thelegonus is a night flowering species, with flowers than can stay open until the early morning. The flower is white and gets up to 22 centimeters long and I measured a staggering 17 centimeters in diameter.
Apart from the size, the flower is very beautiful and has a wonderful scent!
The fruits of Trichocereus thelegonus are round and have reddish brown hairs. The fruits are reddish and can reach 6 centimeters in diameter. It does not produce as many seeds as other plants from the same genus. Trichocereus thelegonus / Echinopsis thelegona is self-sterile and it needs pollen from other plants to produce seed.
Trichocereus thelegonus cristata / crest:
There also is a crested clone of this plant that is extremely cool and resembles a monstrose Cereus. I´ve been lookingf or this crest for years, but wasn´t able to find one yet. Luckily, there are some pics from a Botanical garden:
Buy seeds or cuttings of Trichocereus thelegonus / For sale:
This species is kinda rare, but I sometimes get viable seeds of Trichocereus thelegonus. The problem isn´t that there aren´t any seeds available; but most of the ones that were, did not germinate. I am working on putting the type in my shop and if you want to be up to date about my fresh seeds, please subscribe to my newsletter at: trichocereus.net/newsletter.
Echinopsis Thelegona Cristata by Daderot
by Emoke denes Echinopsis_thelegona
bernard loison Echinopsis_thelegona
by Dick Cullbert
Pics: Noah Reams
Pics: Noah Reams
If you liked this article, check out our Trichocereus database pages about Trichocereus peruvianus or Trichocereus bridgesii.
If you want to support us, please join our Trichocereus Facebook group or Instagram.