Trichocereus pasacana f. brevispinus


No synonyms are recorded for this species name.


Trichocereus pasacana f. brevispinus is native to the Andes Mountains of South America, specifically in the countries of Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, and Peru. It is found in the high-altitude regions, usually above 3000 meters above sea level, growing in rocky soils and in the cracks of rocks. The species is well adapted to the harsh and dry conditions of the Andean region, it can survive in temperatures as low as -10°C and can tolerate extended periods of drought.


Trichocereus pasacana is a large, columnar cactus that can grow up to 6 meters tall. The stem is typically around 15 – 20 cm in diameter and is ribbed, with a bluish-green color. The roots are shallow, and the cactus has a solitary growth habit. The stem is unbranched, and no spines/areoles are present. T. pasacana flowers are large, nocturnal and very fragrant, they appear between November and December and are white with a greenish-yellow throat. The fruits are elongated, red and juicy.
The cultivar ‘brevispinus’ is not considered a taxonomically ranked variety, as it is a recent mutation that occurred in cultivation. This plant is distinct from the common Echinopsis atacamensis subsp. pasacana only by its extremely short spines. In terms of shape and size, it is identical to the standard species, but its true identity is a point of debate and some experts suggest it may be a hybrid. The stem of this plant is columnar and cylindrical, sturdy and can reach up to 30 cm in diameter and several meters tall. It typically grows slowly and remains solitary for a long time, but eventually produces lateral branches and takes on a Saguaro-like appearance with age. The stem has 20-30 deep ribs. The areoles are round and produce a whole cluster of spines at once, but are capable of further growth. New spines may form from the upper part of the areoles many years later. The spines are only 5 in number, becoming more numerous as the plant ages, very short, hardly emerging from the areoles felt, stiff, dark-brown in color, the longest reaching up to 5 mm, but usually shorter. Information about the flowers and fruits of this cultivar is not available.


Cultivating and propagating this plant is quite easy, however, it grows slowly and is moderately cold hardy, but it’s important to make sure that it is not exposed to severe freezing temperatures, or it may die. Place it indoors in Winter or shelter it with non-woven fabric to protect it from cold. Avoid Winter rains by placing it at least under a veranda. It requires a well-drained soil mix, like a specifical cactus mix that you can buy in any succulent nursery. Water it regularly in the summer, like once a week at least, but allow the soil to dry fully before watering again. During the winter months, it should be kept rather dry. Trichocereus pasacana f. brevispinus are big-sized plants that need plenty of space for their roots. Repotting should be done every other year, or when the plant has outgrown its pot. In terms of exposure, they prefer light shade when young, and full sun later.


Propagation of this plant is unique, like other clonal cultivars, it can only be propagated vegetatively from stem cuttings in spring, by allowing the cuttings to dry till the ends callous well, then planting them in fresh cactus soil that is ever so slightly moist, and keeping it that way till they root, or by grafting. They do not branch spontaneously unless they are very old and tall, so a few branches may be obtained by cutting the top of a larger plant, (the cutting is rooted as exposed above) and the base slowly produces a very limited number of adventitious shoots. This makes it very rare and expensive.


The species name “Trichocereus pasadena f. brevispinus” is a combination of several Latin and Greek terms. “Trichocereus” is derived from the Greek words “thrix” meaning hair and “cereus” meaning waxy, possibly referring to the hairy appearance of the plant. “Pasadena” is likely a reference to the city of Pasadena in California, United States, where the plant is native. “F.” stands for “forma” which is a Latin term meaning “form” or “shape”, indicating that “brevispinus” is a form of the species. “Brevispinus” is derived from the Latin words “brevis” meaning short and “spina” meaning thorn, describing the plant as having short thorns. Together, the species name can be roughly translated to “waxy haired cactus from Pasadena, with short thorns form
This species is known for its medicinal properties, the indigenous people of the Andes have used it for centuries as a natural remedy for various ailments such as headaches, colds, and digestive problems. The stem of the Trichocereus pasacana is rich in alkaloids, and it has been used in traditional medicine to treat various conditions, including anxiety, depression, and even cancer.

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