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.
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. chalaensis||Peru||White to whitish||≤4.5m|
|T. cuzcoensis||Peru||≤18cm||White||≤6m||Peruvian Torch|
|T. glaucus||Chile, Peru||≤10cm||White||≤2m|
|T. huanucoensis||Peru||San Pedro|
|T. huascha||Argentina||≤8cm||Golden-yellow to dark-red||≤1.5m|
|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. pasacana||Argentina, Bolivia||≤45cm||White||≤10m|
|T. peruvianus||Peru||≤18cm||≤6m||Blue Torch, Peruvian Torch|
|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|