Trichocereus santaensis ‘Chancha’ | ‘Lapitog’ | 25 seeds
Here’s another of our UK exclusives – the rather nice Trichocereus santaensis ‘Chancha’, collected in the Ancash region of Peru. We’ve very limited stocks of this one, so order now if you want to add it to your collection!
Trichocereus santaensis (syn. Echinopsis santaensis) is a sparsely-researched, yet truly beautiful, cactus species, originally found in the Santa Valley (for which it is named), in Peru’s Ancash region. It’s reportedly known by the informal name ‘Lapitog’ (at least in some parts of Ancash) and occurs naturally at an altitude of between two thousand eight hundred to three thousand metres.
Santaensis is a variable, columnar species that reaches roughly five metres tall once mature, growing grey-green-blue, branching upright stems of around fifteen centimetres in diameter from its base. The plant is usually covered with brown-red-yellow spines, approximately two to five centimetres in length, although some almost spineless forms are known to exist too. Its fantastic, white-whitish flowers can be as large as twenty-two centimetres across and are similar in appearance to related species, such as Trichocereus pachanoi (‘San Pedro’).
While relatively rare as a live plant on the commercial market, it can sometimes be found being sold labelled as Trichocereus pachanoi. Recognised and semi-recognised species which are often said to be closely-related to or interbred or synonymous with Trichocereus santaensis include Trichocereus huanucoensis, Trichocereus pachanoi (especially those found around Huaraz) and Trichocereus pallarensis. The species is also often confused with Trichocereus cuzcoensis, with which some santaensis forms can be quite similar in appearance.
As are most of the Trichocereus genus, santaensis is an easy and rewarding cactus to cultivate from seed, either outdoors in USDA Hardiness Zones 9-11 or indoors. Sow the seeds following the ‘Takeaway Tek’ (see our Cultivation section if you’re not already familiar with that), transplanting to well-drained, mildly acidic to mildly alkaline soil once the young plants are approximately five or six centimetres tall. If planting in the ground, make sure to leave at least ninety centimetres apart, so that they have ample room to grow. Provide a growing position in full sun or full sun to partial shade for best results.
Santaensis is definitely a species deserving of more attention and ‘Chancha’ is a great variety with which to start your collection!
All the seed sold by Arkham’s Botanical was freshly and ethically sourced in 2018-2019