(aka Gold Torch Cereus)
by Francesco Zezza
Trichocereus spachianusis is a member of the Cactaceae family and originates from South America (Argentina).1 Its name comes from the words thrix = hair and cereus = wax’s torch. In Italy, plants like these are nicknamed “colonnari” (columnars), a term that stands for plants growing like a column(s) from the ground. All Trichocereus are said to attain a T.H. up to about 2 mt (6 feet), though mine are smaller. and also to be able to stand even the worst winter pretty well (during this winter – 2002 - they had to face snow also; we’ll see what will happen in spring. I must add that I’m quite confident on the matter). It flowers with large white blossoms (see pics below) regrettably lasting only about 24 hours from one sunset to the following one (all the plants, to my sorrow, flower following an “internal clock” that given night!). Propagation is easy: by cuttings. Enough said now, since I’m NOT an expert on the matter; I hope you enjoy the pics …
Left: The plant and flower at night (in the background is seen an Opuntia)
Right: Going closer to the flowers (notice the “column” on left, even if isn’t the biggest one, is carrying two flowers!)
I need to add here a funny story: being aware of the odd flowering habits of this plant, one night (an hot late spring one!), I found myself in the garden, almost at 04.00 a.m., playing with cameras, lights, flashes and so on to shoot these pictures. All of our neighbours were a bit puzzled and, to a certain degree, considered giving a phone call to the police …
FINAL NOTE ON FLOWERS: these white beauties grow as long as 20 cm (8 inches) and as wide, in diameter, as 15 cm (6 inches)!
More pics hereunder at what I hope is higher detail:
One further shot of a Trichocereus flower. I DO like’em! What a pity they last only one night!!!
As close to the flower as I was able to get (no macro lenses, sorry!). Try to enjoy all details …
1According to http://www.desert-tropicals.com/Plants/Cactaceae/Trichocereus_spachianus.html the genus Trichocereus was recently added to the genus Echinopsis, and the Gold Torch Cereus is known as Echinopsis spachiana.