Trichocereus Species Cheat-sheet

Our Trichocereus peruvianus cactus mother plant
Trichocereus peruvianus

Dependent on which taxonomical ‘expert’ you ask, there are currently anywhere from thirty to forty or so official or semi-recognised species of the fascinating South American columnar cactus genus Trichocereus. And that’s before we even start to consider the innumerable varieties, ‘named clones’ and other types available on the open market and collector’s circuit too!

Confusingly, the Trichocereus genus was actually folded in to the larger Echinopsis genus (along with the Lobvia) in 1974, causing several species to suffer replacement names, as existing Echinopsis species took precedence. A good example of this is that Trichocereus bridgesii became Echinopsis lageniformis, because there was already an Echinopsis bridgesii – a species which more than one cactus collector has purchased in error at some point (us included, albeit “sight-unseen” when we were noobs).

Controversial as this reclassification has proved, many fans of the ‘former’ Trichocereus (and Lobvia) just continue referring to them by their old names. This seems sensible to us, as – despite some broader similarities between the Trichocereus and Echinopsis groups – the species comprising the former genus tend toward being columnar species which form large, white, nocturnal blooms and are very similar to each other in appearance and habit. Echinopsis (in the older sense), however, are generally barrel-shaped or clumping and feature many different flower colours. Moreover, many of these blooms appear in the daylight hours.

Trichocereus huanucoensis | ~47cm rooted plant
Trichocereus huanucoensis

Another often frustrating aspect of the Trichocereus hobby is the complex intergrade between certain species (for example, Trichocereus cuzcoensis and Trichocereus peruvianus), initiating countless debates in both the online and offline cactus community. We shan’t get into all that here, but expect another article from us covering that at some later point when we have more time.

Anyway; it’s difficult enough to keep track of all the goings on regarding the wonderful Trichocereus species, so we’ve compiled this handy cheat-sheet reference to help you differentiate between them. Consider it as a work-in-progress which we’ll be updating as we think to (and feel free to help us with corrections or by filling in the blanks via email)!

Click on the links in the ‘Species’ column to see any related products which we sell in the store


Trichocereus Species Cheat-sheet

SPECIES NATIVE TO DIAMETER FLOWER HEIGHT COMMON NAME
T. andalgalensis Argentina 6cm Red or yellow 40cm
T. arboricola Argentina, Bolivia White to whitish 1.2m
T. atacamensis Argentina, Bolivia, Chile 70cm Rose-white 10m Cardón, Cardón Grande, Cavul, Pasakana
T. bertramineus Bolivia 25cm Creamy white 2.4m
T. bridgesii Bolivia, Peru 20cm 6m Achuma, Bolivian Torch, Huachuma, Wachuma
T. camarguensis Bolivia White to whitish 60cm
T. candicans Argentina 14cm White 60cm
T. chalaensis Peru White to whitish 4.5m
T. chilensis Chile 15cm White 7m
T. cuzcoensis Peru 18cm White 6m Peruvian Torch
T. deserticola Chile White 2m
T. glaucus Chile, Peru 10cm White 2m
T. grandiflora Peru
T. huanucoensis Peru San Pedro
T. huascha Argentina 8cm Golden-yellow to dark-red 1.5m
T. knuthianus Peru
T. macrogonus Bolivia, Peru 9cm White 3m
T. pachanoi Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador, Peru 15cm White 6m Achuma, Aguacolla, Giganton, Hahuacollay, Huachuma, San Pedro, Wachuma
T. pallarensis Peru White
T. pasacana Argentina, Bolivia 45cm White 10m
T. peruvianus Peru 18cm 6m Blue Torch, Peruvian Torch
T. puquiensis Peru 20cm White 4m
T. purpureopilosus Argentina 7cm Purple 60cm
T. riomizquensis Bolivia 8cm
T. santaensis Peru White 5m
T. schickendantzii Argentina 8cm White 50cm
T. schoenii Peru
T. scopulicola Bolivia 10cm White 4m
T. shaferi Argentina 12cm White 1.5m
T. spachianus Argentina 6cm 2m
T. strigosus Argentina 8cm White or yellow 65cm
T. tacaquirensis Argentina, Bolivia 15cm White to pale pink 5m
T. terscheckii Argentina, Bolivia, Ecuador, Peru 60cm White to whitish 15m Argentine Saguaro, Cardón, Cardón Grande, Cardón Santos, Golden Saguaro, South American Saguaro, San Pedro
T. validus Bolivia? 40cm White