T. pachanoi is native to the high mountains in Ecuador and Peru, it grows in the rainy regions of the Andes where it can withstand temperatures under 0° C and altitudes up to 2700 m.
T. pachanoi is a fast growing cactus with columnar stem. The stem is blue-green when young and dark green when ripe, it can reach up to 6 m in height thanks to its rapid growth (up to 30 cm a year). The plant forms several branches that start from the base, the stems are wider at the base and tapered at the apex and they consist of 4-7 ribs. Areoles are whitish and can form up to 7 pale brown spines. Flowering is in July and it is a night flowering that lasts 24 hours; the large white flowers that form above the areoles, can reach up to 22 cm in diameter. Flowers have stamen filaments greenish and flower buds are produced from spines; fruits are oblong, dark green in colour and covered by black scales and hairs.
This is a fast and easy growing cactus because is used to resist to the extreme conditions of the Andes. Soil should be a well-drained mixture of clay, sand and loam. Watering is very important for this species and should be done well: during the vegetative period you can water regularly 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. The cactus can withstand temperatures below -12 °C, but not if the soil is wet, so it is important to withholding water. The sun exposure recommended for this plant is the direct sun light, but on hot summer days, a light shade is advisable. In the winter, if you place the plant indoors you risk to etiolating the stem, due to the low level of light. The cactus is prone to fungal attacks, so you should be careful and not to keep the soil wet for too long. If you want a very fast and lush growth you can fertilize the plant during the growing season with the specifics fertilizers for cacti; stop fertilizing throughout the winter.
Propagation can be done through seed or cutting. By seed is very simple to propagate the plant, it is enough to sow the seed in a sandy loam soil and keep it with high level of humidity. By cutting you can use the offsets that grow at the base of the plant. Cut the offset as close as possible to the base of 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. T. Pachanoi is an excellent rootstock that ensure a rapid and constant growth.
This cactus is normally confused with the Peruvian torch cactus which contain mescaline, a powerful hallucinogen. About mescaline, Aldous Huxley, the author of “Brave new world”, wrote a book entitled “the doors of perception”.
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