Eulychnia saint-pieana

Synonyms:

Cereus chiloensis var. heteromorphus
Cereus coquimbanus
Cereus longispinus
Eulychnia breviflora
Eulychnia barquitensis
Eulychnia breviflora var. tenuis
Eulychnia longispina
Eulychnia procumbens
Eulychnia saint-pieana var. barquitensis
Eulychnia aricensis
Copoa

Habitat:

E. saint-pieana is native to the coastal Atacama Desert of the North Chile. In its habitat the cactus tends to expand and to form extensive forests and can colonize up to 300 m of altitude. The plant is used to grow in a very drought region where the only contribution of water is given by the frequent fog that forms on the coast.

Description:

E. saint-pieana is a cactus belonging to the botanical family of Cactacee. The cactus has a long columnar stem which often branches from the base and develops a woody trunk. The trunk is pale green to dark green and over time can reach up to 10 m in height and 11 cm in diameter. The stem is arranged in many ribs covered with white tufts of woolly hairs in the center of which stand long sharp brown spines. Blooming occurs in late spring and early summer and flowering begins near the apex of the plant from woolly buds filled with hairs. Flowers are thin, 2 cm long, bell-shaped, from white to pale rose in color with a darker midstripe. Fruits are globose, fleshy, hairy but edibles.

Cultivation:

This is a slow growing succulent but quite easy to cultivate. For this succulent the best sun-exposure is full sunlight, and the plant does not like extended period of frost so it needed to be placed indoors during the coldest periods. The crested form is more sensitive to cold and prefers warmer conditions. 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. Remember to use perforating pot to drain excess water. Watering can be done regularly from March to November: during the vegetative period you can water the plant (every 10 days), checking that the soil is completely dry before watering again; in winter you should stop the watering to allow to the plant to enter dormancy. If you want a very fast and lush growth you can fertilize the plant once a month during the growing season with the specifics fertilizers for cacti; stop fertilizing throughout the winter. The pot should be quite large and deep because the root is large and tuberose. 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.

Propagation:

The easiest way to propagate this plant is by cutting. By cutting you can use leaf cuttings during the spring. Cut the leaves as close as possible to the stem and then let it 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 success of propagation you can cut two or more leaves at the same time. For cuttings is recommended temperatures around 20 °C.

Curiosity:

The name of the genus, Eulychna, comes from the two ancient Greek words: “eu” which means “good” and “lychnos” which means “lamp”, thus a good lampstand.

Official Web Site:
www.giromagi.com

Italian Blog:
www.giromagicactus.com

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