Trichocereus vollianus, also known under it´s currently valid name Echinopsis volliana, is a columnar cactus from the genus Trichocereus. It is a very interesting plant and there is only little information to be found about it. Ben Kamm and Sacred Succulents encountered Trichocereus vollianus during their 2010 Sacred Succulents field trip.
The original description of this plant came from Backeberg in his book KAKTUS-ABC. The original type location is in Arque in Cochabamba. The shoots have a maximum diameter of up to 10 centimeters, approximately 13 ribs and a very bright green yellow color. The epidermis of this plant has similarities to Trichocereus spachianus, which has a very bright green color too. The ribs are 7 mm broad and are up to 5 mm high. The areoles are approx. 2-2,5 cm apart from each other. The plant has 7-12 radial spines and very fine and thin spines that can get up to 7 mm long. There usually is only one middle spine which can reach a length of 2,5 cm. All spines are yellow colored (Backeberg used the term “Amber”).
Flowers: The flowers of Trichocereus vollianus are white and up to 12 cm long. However, I assume that the flowers depend greatly on the health of the plant and larger flowers wouldn’t come as a surprise to me.
Fruit: Green and very hairy.
How to keep it apart from Trichocereus spachianus?: Trichocereus vollianus is very similar to Trichocereus spachianus but thicker, even more shiny and has a brighter green epidermis. Backeberg also mentioned that they work very well as a grafting stock.
There also was a Trichocereus vollianus var. rubrispinus with reddish spines, which would probably be regarded as nothing but a regional form under today´s standards. It is a common occurrence that some populations are extremely variable with lots of different forms growing together and it is not enough to warrant a separate description as a new species.
Where to get seeds of Trichocereus vollianus?:
Well, it´s definitely a rare species. Sacred Succulents collected some seeds and gave them away under the name mentioned above but apart from that, there are very few sources that provide viable seed. You could make a posting in our Trichocereus Facebook group because I know of some people who were able to get some seeds back when they were sold by Sacred Succulents. Definitely an interesting plant!
Misidentified Trichocereus vollianus in Australia:
There are a whole lot of misidentified plants of this species going around in Australia. These are probably either Trichocereus thelegonoides or Trichocereus quadratiumbonatum. If your Trichocereus vollianus has strong ridges/notches above the areoles, it is not the right species.
Fotos below: Trichocereus vollianus (Jürgen Els)
BK10511.1 Trichocereus vollianus, between Arani & Rodeo, Cochabamba, Bolivia / Sacred Succulents
Photos below: A form of Trichocereus vollianus with slight genetic proximity to Trichocereus spachianus (Pedro Lopez Artés)