Echinopsis eyriesii f. Crestata
Echinocactus eyriesii var. glaucus
E. eyriesii is native to Argentina Northeast, Brazil South, Paraguay and Uruguay. The plant was introduced and is widespread also in Galápagos, KwaZulu-Natal, Spain and Tunisia. The cactus grows among grasses and shrubs along with other cacti, in a tropical continental climate with dry winters and summers characterised by torrential rains. The plant can spread up to 1000 m of altitude.
E. eyriesii is a common cactus belonging to the Cactaceae botanical family. The plant has a elongated barrel-shaped stem, bright green without spines. The stem is arranged in 9-18 ribs, divided by furrows. On the edge of each ribs there are small cream-colored areoles. The areoles can bear short dark spines usually hidden by areolar wool. The plant can reach 12 cm in diameter and 15 cm in height and can be solitary or offsetting from the base. Blooming occurs in late spring and throughout the summer and blossom are borne near the top of the plant. The flowers are large, white or light pink, funnel-shaped with long stalks up to 15 cm and are fragrant. Flowers are made up of many petals and in the center there are yellow anthers which make the plant wonderful. This species has a night-blooming, very rapid therefore flowers open at the morning and remain opened all the night long, then at the second day they start to wither. The fruits are green, containing many black seeds. The crested form is very appreciated by collectors. In the crested form, the stem grows in the shape of a fan or wave and usually branches off from the base, taking on highly sought-after sculptural forms. The crested form has multiple irregular ribs, equipped with whitish, slightly downy areoles. Its spines are dense, thin, whitish and very short. Echinopsis eyriesii is very similar to the Echinopsis subdenudata but this one has a round (not elongated) stems with very large areoles. E. eyriesii is also commonly called easter cactus for the time of its flowering.
The plant has a slow growth rate but it easy to cultivate. The plant needs a full light sun exposure but is recommended to avoid direct sun-light in the hottest periods. The minimum temperatures that the plant can withstand are 10 ° C, below this temperature it begins to suffer so it needs to be placed indoors in the coldest periods. The soil should be mixed with pumice, clay and loam to allow the drainage and prevent the root rot, the plant is prone to it indeed. Using a perforating pot, you can drain excess water. Watering can be done regularly in Spring and Summer: during the vegetative period you can water the plant (every 7 days), checking that the soil is completely dry before watering again; in winter you should stop the watering to allow the plant to enter dormancy. About fertilization, for this plant is sufficient to fertilize moderately during the growing season with the specific fertilizers for succulents and stop fertilizing during the winter. If the pot starts to be too small for the plant you can repot the plant in a pot 2 cm wider. Repotting should be done early in the growing season with fresh new potting soil. Be careful to red spiders and mealy bugs.
Propagation can be done by cutting or by seed. By cutting you can make the cut during the spring and then let the cutting dry; after a few days the cut surface will dry and a callus will form, then place the cutting in a mixture of sand, soil and pumice. To increase the success of propagation you can make two or more cuttings at the same time. For cuttings it is recommended temperatures around 20 °C. By seed it is very simple to propagate the plant, it is enough to sow the seed in a sandy loam soil and keep it with a high level of humidity and at temperature of 14 C°.
As for Echinocactus Echinocereus genres, the name comes from Latin word Echinos, that means porcupine, which indicates the presence of numerous and robust thorns. In this variant, even the -opsis suffix reinforces this concept as it means “the look of”. Compared to its thorny relatives, however, the Echinopsis gives you abundant and frequent blooms.
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