Stetsonia coryne f. crested
Stetsonia coryne crested form is a nusery-produced cultivar, thus it doesn’t exist in nature. However, Stetsonia coryne, the plant from which the crested form has been obtained, which is the only species of the genus Stetsonia, is from Argentina, Paraguay and Bolivia. In Argentina it occurs in Catamarca, Córdoba, Chaco, Formosa, Jujuy, La Rioja, Santiago del Estero, and Santa Fe; while in Bolivia it occurs in Santa Cruz and Tarija, and in Paraguay. Its habitat are low mountains or arid plains, at the edges of salt flats in Chaco forest. They are pioneer plants: they form colonies which become part of the first succession of the plant community.
Stetsonia coryne is a large, tree-like columnar cactus that reaches up to 3-10 meters in height in its natural environment. The crested form instead, is much smaller. It’s also very rare in collection: its rarity and the peculiar oddity in its shape make them very appreciated and often very expensive on succulent market. It has a remarkable, sculptural shape, globally triangular, like a fan. The stem, bright green, is very sturdy and lumpy, with an irregular shape, also furrowed by lenticular tubercles and fissures. It has white, neatly pronounced white areoles, equipped with short, white hair and extremely long and sharp thorns. The remarkable length of the thorns is a feature that the crested form inherit from the wild species, S. coryne, whose spine can reach up to 10 centimeters in length! For their extreme sharpness, the thorns are even used by the local populations as toothpicks! This has given birth to a common name of Stetsonia coryne: Toothpick Stetsonia.
Stetsonia coryne crested form is not difficult to grow and will reward you by forming very decorative specimens as they age.
Put it in full sun, avoiding only the hottest hours of Summer days. In partial shade they tend to become even more subsceptible to root rot. It can usually tolerate light frosts, down to -4ºC, if kept dry. To stay safe, however, we advice to shelter it in Winter, putting it indoors or at least covering it with some kind of protection. During the Summer, when the temperature rises up to 30ºC, it’s good to put it outside. Watering should be regular during the Summer and morre scarce during the Autumn, until being completely suspended in Winter. Avoid air humidity. Fertilization may be necessary only in Summer, only if it’s been a while since you last repotted your plant.
Propagation should be carried out through cuttings, in Summer. Cuttings should be let to dry up for some days and put in a well-drained soils, at hot temperatures.
The Stetsonia gennus was named in honor of Francis Lynde Stetson, a lawyer from New York, who lived between the second half of the 1800s and the early 1900s, and was a great passionate of botany.
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