Quito, Ecuador – Trichocereus pachanoi


  Quito, Ecuador has a number of forms of Trichocereus pachanoi in cultivation. As we already have seen, and will be seeing again, a similar story exists in Peru.
I’ll suggest to readers that it is best to try and have some fun with this and try to resist drawing conclusions as long as you can. It is valuable to not get distracted by the variable degree of spination and different vegetative body morphologies. They are worth gaining familiarity with so the plants can be recognized when encountered but in this instance it is the flowers and the fruit that are actually helpful for illumination.
Take some time to study the images in this article and after a while some of the things to focus on should start to resolve. 

Quito, Ecuador Trichocereus pachanoi Photograph copyright by Hubbie Smidlak

Quito, Ecuador Trichocereus pachanoi Photograph copyright by Hubbie Smidlak

Quito, Ecuador Trichocereus pachanoi Photograph copyright by Hubbie Smidlak

Quito, Ecuador Trichocereus pachanoi Photograph copyright by Hubbie Smidlak

Quito, Ecuador Trichocereus pachanoi Photograph copyright by Hubbie Smidlak

Quito, Ecuador Trichocereus pachanoi Photograph copyright by Hubbie Smidlak


All images above are of Trichocereus pachanoi growing at Quito.

Some more Trichocereus pachanoi in Ecuador

Photographs copyright by Hubbie Smidlak 2008 

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Trichocereus bridgesii & our pachanot


    Trichocereus bridgesii compared to our pachanot.
All of this set of images were taken of plants growing in Sonoma or Mendocino County, California.
In the first image the pachanot is on top, in the lower two images Trichocereus bridgesii is on top.

 Trichocereus bridgesii compared to our pachanot

 Trichocereus bridgesii compared to our pachanot

 Trichocereus bridgesii compared to our pachanot


  This last example shows the blackest wooly hair we have thusfar encountered on a pachanot flower. (See some short blackish hairs.)

See images of a few of bridgesii’s many forms

   There are plenty of pictures of bona fide Trichocereus pachanoi flowers included in this article that can be compared to these two as well.

  Things to notice: the degree and nature of hairs arising from the axils of the scales on the flowers, the appearance of the ovary and its degree of hairiness, the appearance of the scales and also the appearance of the sepals when the flower is fully open.  If a person can view them first-hand or have matching pairs of images a lot more can be seen inside of the flower but this is not reliable from photographs. One thing that might be overlooked if unfamiliar with these plants is that in most cases only night-time or early morning images show undamaged interiors. Typically, as early as it is possible to get out and about, honey-bees or some other type of bee will start stripping them of all possible pollen leaving the stigma knocked down or to one side and the interior series of stamens sort of trampled in appearance. Sometime extremely so. Understanding this has occurred is really important if wanting to make sense out of comparing the interior flower parts.

   This taken together with other observations of the morphology of their stems, spination & fruit, and reflection on the difference between those two sets on the interesting hybridization page lead me to suspect that the pachanot might be a hybrid between Trichocereus bridgesii and a Trichocereus pachanoi.  At the very least those F1 hybrid sets suggest that the pachanot had something somewhere in its lineage that formed some rather familiar long yellow spines. 

   Assuming for a moment that it is a hybrid, it is also potentially possible that it was of natural occurrence, many naturally occurring cactus hybrids are known. One other plausible possibility is that it is a hybrid produced by a horticulturalist’s hands which they recognized for being a potential money maker and started its mass propagation and distribution.

   The volume and extent of its distribution makes it clear that it entered horticulture through the hands of a major commercial grower so it is possible that there may still be a paper-trail (or someone’s memory) taking it back to its origin — assuming a person can first identify the point of entry into horticulture and all of the records or neurons involved are not already turned to dust. Maybe this will be found interesting enough to someday be looked into using DNA testing but for most botanists this is going to be a really trivial issue.

  Some tangential images as well as the obviously pertinent ones may also shed some light on the subject of hybrids. You have no doubt already noticed the hybrid page but just to be sure here is another link.

  Also it might be found interesting and useful to compare the flowers from assorted Trichocereus that appear to be closely related


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our pachanot



  Here are some views of our pachanot again; just to be certain that there is no confusion about our subject.
The first image on this page was taken at the LA Arboretum of a plant they purchased from one of the major cactus growers in the Vista area.
The second two on this page were in my garden and the last image was taken at the former site of Carl Eltzner’s cactus nursery in Oakland.

[a couple of new growth images]

[some fruit images]


Our pachanot from LAA






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alternative answers?

  Alternative answers are always possible, as is the possibility of a definitive answer remaining elusive. I presently lack an actual conclusion as the data gathering process is clearly not over. There are still multiple dangling loose ends and unanswered questions that could potentially produce a different path of thought – depending on what was learned if and when more information ever comes to the surface. The trails to follow have often proven to be quite old and cold.  

  1) If the plant in what used to be Eltzner’ garden turned out to have collection data rather than being of horticultural origin it might shed some light. That seems too much to hope for even if he was still alive to ask.

an alternative - Trichocereus pachanot in Oakland


  2) If the white wooly fruited plant in Oz (NSW) ever has some collection data or the name of its collector unearthed it might suggest an area in Ecuador to search for the pachanot.

  This plant does not appear to be an identical match with the pachanot but it DOES show an interestingly white wool covered fruit on a line its owner believed was collected in Ecuador.

 an alternative - Trichocerus-pachanoi-Ecuador-Oz



3) I still have not determined if what is at UC labelled huanucoensis really grew from Harry Johnson’s seed or if it is simply a mislabeled pachanot. I would like to suspect the latter.

  (This is in reference to the version in the front parts of the garden not those located farther back which were mentioned elsewhere here.)

  Assuming that this can be shown to be synonymous with the pachanot, as some commercial growers believe this is simply a pachanot that was mislabeled, probably in the early 1960s, this specimen would be the oldest living representative I have thusfar encountered.
I have yet to see this one after it was out under more favorable conditions so still have questions. 




  4) There are also questions involving the riomizquensis sold by Horst Kunzler and the population it was derived from since almost every plant that NMCR sold was grown from seed he had planted or was harvested from a mother plant that he had grown from seed.

  Nigel Taylor has referred to it as Echinopsis pachanoi subsp. riomizquiensis.
Friends visiting Bolivia have not yet been able to track it down.


5) If it can ever be substantiated that there is a populations of the pachanot existing in the wild or it being produced from a wild seed. (It being produced from a seed would be interesting in itself.)

6) wrt items 5 & 6, there is some interesting material in Bolivia suggesting the suggestion of need for further local exploration; as this blow-up from one of Dani’s photos illustrates..




  7) If the claims of this originating through Oz from an early Ritter field expedition (via Field’s hands) can really be substantiated.




  8) If the material his father received from Harry Blossfeld in 1935, something that is actually in Field’s collection, turns out to be synonymous with the pachanot. If that could be established, it would go far to explain why it appears to be present in the USA, Europe AND Oz as, according to Robert Field, Blossfeld sold a total of 12 shares in order to finance his expedition costs. See a more detailed discussion in the forthcoming 2015 edition of the San Pedro book.



  There is also a very similar plant at Field’s, from the same source, that produces more blackish hairs. Field believed this to be a trivial difference. Compare for yourself in the following image that shows them both together.

   Many things are possible of course as not all of the facts are in yet. It is certainly possible that the pachanot is simply a naturally occurring form of Trichocereus pachanoi with a hair color variation despite the *seemingly* lack of anyone’s ability to locate it in the wild (and the various other differences that we’ve mentioned). Just because something occurs in a given location does not guarantee it a place in the earth or continued existance if someone disagrees. Many entire populations of many different cactus species have disappeared and will no doubt continue to do so. 

    This first image has both that and what may be the pachanot growing together. The rest of the following are just the darker haired one. There also appears to be at least two additional pachanoi forms at Field’s so it is not clear if all of these came from Blossfeld. 



  8) No doubt there are many additional alternate answers I do not yet know about or have not thought of. 

  Let me know what YOU can think of!




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Abelardo Pachano Lalama

   Ing. Abelardo Pachano Lalama is still recognized as one of Ambato, Ecuador’s illustrious citizens.

  His baptized name was Segundo Miguel Ángel Abelardo Pachano Lalama.

Abelardo Pachano Lalama
(4 October, 1885 Ambato, Ecuador — 13 October, 1958 Ambato, Ecuador) 

  Pachano was born as the eldest son into a prominent Ambato family. His father was the well-respected citizen Abel Pachano Baca and his mother was Amelia Lalama Pachano. Abelardo’s father had earned fame and incarceration as a liberal patriot in his youth. Abel Pachano Baca went on to become a lawyer who served his country as a congressman, a municipal counselor, a judge, the President of the Municipality of Ambato and Chairman of the Liberal Board of Tungurahua.

  Abelardo Pachano had nine siblings. One of his sisters, Eloisa Maria Montalvo became the wife of another famous ambateño Juan Francisco Montalvo who, coincidently, was one of Pachano’s classmates while attending Cornell. One of his brothers, Rodrigo Pachano Lalama, achieved lasting fame for his contributions as a lawyer, political writer, acclaimed poet, legislator and as a professor of philosophy, logic and ethics at the Colegio Bolivar (later becoming its Rector.)

  In 1915, Abelardo Pachano Lalama married  Clotilde Naranjo Vasconez. They had five children. Pachano is said to have many grandchildren who are currently engaged in professional fields, one of whom is his namesake.

  Pachano was remembered by the historian Julio Castillo as having “a serene conscience convinced of his ideals”. Castillo further ascribed him with loyalty, austerity, seriousness and immense honesty with “the fortitude of an apostle and unprecedented value.”

    Ing. Pachano graduated with honors, his studies in agricultural engineering earning him a degree in Applied Agronomy from Cornell University in New York; where he was recognized for merit in his studies of agronomy, bacteriology & microbiology. He returned to Ambato, Ecuador in 1911 with plans of using what he had learned for the benefit of everyone. His many contributions to botanical exploration were immortalized when the Ecuadorian aguacolla cactus (aka achuma in Peru) was named for him by Dr. Joseph Nelson Rose following Britton & Rose’s Andean expedition. While Britton & Rose’s comments say simply that Pachano was the traveling companion of Rose in the Andes, his achievements remembered in Ecuador include the classification of cacti.

  In Ecuador, Abelardo Pachano is still remembered as a gifted research scientist, agronomist, botanical pioneer, professor and organizer who is said to have always appeared in public dressed in khaki. He has also been honored for his tireless work to further higher education in Ecuador, both as an administrator and, later in life, as a politician. At the 2010 unveiling of a bust by Ecuadorian sculptor Jorge Avila which commemorates Pachano’s many contributions and achievements, his grandson and namesake described him as a “promoter of the people.”

  Among Pachano’s many recognized and lasting contributions was the bringing of a now famous white peach to Ambato (the waytambo or guaytambo), discovering 58 new plant diseases, his furtherment of the development of agronomy in Ecuador based on his studies of ways to improve agricultural methods, increase land productivity and implement beneficial new technologies in Ecuador, including bacteriology, microbiology and plant pathology, and for his travel to Europe locating and successfully recruiting new teachers for la Quinta Normal de Agricultura, after becoming its Director. 

  In 1943, the Ecuadorian national government formally honored Ing. Abelardo Pachano Lalama as “Gran Oficial en Primer Grado,” to acknowledge his lifelong service to his country. Among the many things Pachano is still remembered for is his passionate love for the land and his statement that Ambato was his spiritual mother.

  Appropriately, Ing. Abelardo Pachano Lalama was further honored with his grave being at the base of his beloved namesake, Trichocereus (Echinopsis) pachanoi. 


Abelardo Pachano Lalama
Date & photographer not available to us
From the Ambato Municipality’s webpage
featuring Ambato’s illustrious citizens



   Be aware that there are other well-known Ecuadorians named Abelardo Pachano, including his grandson, and that he came from a family with many members who earned their fame and reputations on their own achievements and contributions. Confusions between them can be found even in Ecuador as Pachano’s bust can be found being described online as being a prominent Ecuadorian banker (which was one of his brothers)!


Trichocereus pachanoi or pachanoids?


  A representative few of the many interesting Trichocereus pachanoi or pachanoid offerings that are present in horticulture.


Trichocereus aff. huanucoensis
  This specimen is missing its accession data but is suspected by Jon Trager of being grown from seeds provided to the Huntington by Harry Johnson. 

 The pachanoid Trichocereus aff Huanucoensis


Trichocereus huanucoensis

  The next image is of another pachanoid plant at the Huntington. It was grown from seeds provided to them by Harry Johnson. 

 The pachanoid Trichocereus huanucoensis



   The image below is of a plant of Trichocereus huanucoensis at UC.
   This too was grown from seeds provided to them by Harry Johnson. 



Trichocereus pachanoi cv. Juul’s Giant
  The cutting shown below was harvested directly from a plant in Tom Juul’s backyard garden in San Francisco. No origin data exists but it is suspected of originating on one of the UC cactus collection expeditions but losing its collection data during transportation. These amazingly productive expeditions were cancelled due to criticism that it was inappropriate for an academic institution and commercial cactus vendors to be engaging in co-ventures (as opposed to the spectrum of other academic-commercial co-ventures that exist at UC outside of the world of cactus collecting.)  

 The pachanoid Trichocereus pachanoi cv. Juul's Giant


Trichocerus “peruvianus” Huancabamba (on the left – sp. Peru 64.0762 is to its right and behind it.)
  This entered horticulture via seeds collected in Peru during the 1960s by Dick Van Geest and sold through Mesa Garden over the course of many years. It is variable in appearance but is clearly far more a pachanoi than a peruvianoid.



   There is also some different material that
Paul Hutchison collected as live cuttings from Huancabamba


Trichocereus scopulicola
  This Ritter species is currently believed to be extinct in the wild. Or at least several sets of people have been unable to locate it including botanists searching on behalf of the Kew prior to the publication of Hunt’s New Cactus Lexicon. It is suspected of having been extirpated by freely wandering goats, as is the case for a number of cactus species.

  Seed-grown in England.

The pachanoid Trichocereus scopulicola grown in England


Seed-grown in Oz.

The pachanoid Trichocereus scopulicola in Oz


Seed-grown in USA (NMCR).

The pachanoid Trichocereus scopulicola NMCR


Trichocereus pachanoi
  Collected in the 1960s in Huamachuco Prov., La Libertad Dept., Peru.
Paul C. Hutchison, J. K. Wright & R.M. Straw 6212

  (UC Peru 64.0762)
This fat pachanoid specimen is no longer present in UC’s desert garden. The last time I saw it there the plant was suffering badly from heavy predation and the rot produced from careless and badly timed harvesting. This plant has been regularly sold via their annual plant sale so it is a tragic loss to all visitors to that garden.

 The pachanoid Peru 64.0762


Trichocereus pachanoi
   Collected in the 1960s in Bongara Prov., Peru
Paul C. Hutchison & Jerry K. Wright 4013
   (UC Peru 65.0729)
More recently this plant had its name tag changed to Echinopsis macrogona and, strangely, was given a new accession number and date. The plant itself, however, has not changed.



Trichocereus pachanoi Strybig
  I was told by the Strybig’s staff that this was obtained from UC. The most plausible candidate would seem to be  Peru 65.0729. However, that plant from UC has been demonstrated to show an interesting spiralling desiccation of its flowers that seems to be trasnferred through its progeny. The Strybig’s does not appear to have this feature. Whether that is enough to make them different or if they are one and the same remains to be proven through study.

A pachanoid Trichocereus pachanoi at the Strybig


 The same lineage growing in a commercial cactus grower’s operation.

The pachanoid Trichocereus pachanoi Strybig



Trichocereus pachanoi R. Montgomery; Peru
   I presently lack any additional data concerning what was said to be a field collection acquired in Peru many years ago.



Trichocereus pachanoi Torres & Torres; N. Chile
   This came from what was believed to be a wild collection made by M & D Torres at fairly high altitude in northern Chile.  It appeared to be a wild plant which, if true, would extend the range of Trichocereus pachanoi into that country.
(This is the plant that provided material for the article “San Pedro in a Pressure Pot”.)

The pachanoid Trichocereus pachanoi Torres & Torres N. Chile




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hybrids of some Trichocereus and their parents


  F1 hybrids resulting from a couple of the great many known Trichocereus pachanot crosses.

   The images below are compared to their parents which follow them.

  The first image sheet shows a single set of F1 hybrids produced by George Fuller using both directions of crossing for Trichocereus pachanot X Trichocereus peruvianus:

F1 hybrids of Trichocereus pachanot X Trichocereus peruvianus

[Larger views of the individual images and more from that same crossing.]

Their parents:
The pachanot is on the left and Trichocereus peruvianus is on the right.

Trichocereus pachanot and Trichocereus peruvianus


  Next image sheet shows a single set of F1 hybrids resulting from the crossing of Trichocereus pachanot X Trichocereus pachanoi cv. Juul’s Giant:

Trichocereus pachanoi cv. Juuls X pachanot

Their parents:
Our pachanot on the left  & Trichocereus pachanoi cv. Juul’s Giant is on the right.

Trichocerus pachanot and Trichocereus pachanoi cv. Juul's Giant


  Rather interesting?


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Trichocereus pachanoi in Peru


   Trichocereus pachanoi in Peru exhibits a fascinatingly wide range of forms. It is believed to have been introduced from Ecuador some millennia ago so this suggests either that is in error or that it has undergone some surprisingly rapid changes since its introduction. How much of that is due to potential interaction with previously existing Peruvian Trichocereus species and how much is the result of simple recombinant events and local environmental shaping over time remains to be studied.
  Trichocereus pachanoi has been intensively cultivated by humans for an unclear number of millennia although it is clear, based on the archaeological evidence, that it has been at least several. During that process it has been moved all over the Andes, apparently from Ecuador to Argentina, and has become naturalized in a number of areas in Peru. It is popularly cultivated and widely admired for its bountiful fragrant flowers.

   The existance of short and long spined variants is what has helped a perception of intergrading that has confounded botanists and caused some to pronounce a synonymity between Trichocereus pachanoi and Trichocereus peruvianus. Since Trichocereus peruvianus shows a similar spectrum of spination the resulting confusion is understandable.

pachanoi in Peru by Grizzly

pachanoi in Peru by Grizzly


Images are copyright © by Grizzly

pachanoi in Ecuador

pachanoi in Bolivia



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pachanoi & pachanot: Topic 2


South American Trichocereus pachanoi
compared to
the predominate “pachanot” cultivated in the USA


  This page is a bit image heavy. . . 

  As was mentioned previously, I began referring to this as pachanoi PC out of laziness, namely when growing tired of typing or speaking using ‘the predominate cultivar of Trichocereus pachanoi‘ as a noun. Or PC could as easily refer to the ‘predominate clone’ since it does seem to be produced entirely vegetatively despite it freely flowering & readily hybridizing — or *maybe* it should stand for politically correct,  I don’t know.  (I do know that I have grown to doubt that it is actually a pachanoi and am presently suspecting it may be a pachanoi  hybrid. Let’s come back to that later.)
  Questions have been raised about the culturecentrism of this “PC” view as a basis for a designation. As it is not necessarily the predominate cultivar elsewhere in the world this term PC needed abandonment and replacement.  Not for sake of proposing a name but simply to be able to have a unique noun to be able use as a term of reference so we can discuss the matter.
   As a result, in this discussion it is jokingly referred to as Trichocereus pachanot.
  This is the primary Western cultivar sold in the US under the names Trichocereus pachanoi, San Pedro and sometimes as Echinopsis peruviana in southern California. 

   This is that same bona fide pachanoi growing in a shaman’s garden near Cuzco
(Photo copyright by Geneva Photography)

Trichocereus pachanoi near Cuzco, Peru. Copyright by Geneva Photography.

  Notice the details of the flowers and how smooth edged this plant is? Also how indented/sunken the areoles are and the planar relationship they have to the median of the rib? Take a closer look here or farther below. Now go back to Backeberg’s pachanoi photo and compare this and then compare both to the pachanot.
  Spines here and in Backeberg’s photo are shorter than on the pachanot but spine length is something that can almost be disregarded (within reason) for being a variable characteristic. When they have short spines, it is a common thing for the short expressions of the spination on pachanoi to be consistently much shorter than the already short spines of the pachanot

  Many of the trichs show ranges of characteristics rather than set characteristics so it is easy to become diverted from some important points concerning the predominate cultivar.
a) It does not match the description of pachanoi as given by Rose & others in perhaps minor but very consistent ways.
b) It is readily differentiable from the pachanoi that seems to be most common in Ecuador and Peru. This is true of its morphology, its floral elements and its fruit.
c)  Thus far it has NOT been encountered in the wild or in use among Peruvian shamans.
d) It shows characteristics of both its flower and its fruit, as well as intensely vigorous growth, that are suggestive of it being a selection derived from a hybrid.
e) It is dramatically lower in alkaloid content than a bona fide pachanoi such as would be selected for ceremonial use by a shaman in Peru.
  While a pachanoiXbridgesii is at least plausible, there are other possibilites.
  We may never know the answer with any degree of certainty – perhaps not even with a lot of work that is yet to be done.

  Below we will soon be seeing a series of typical pachanoi from South America compared to the pachanot that we most commonly have growing in the US.

  The first images were shared by MS Smith who brought this subject to my attention in the first place. All of these images are said to be of Ecuadorian pachanoi.
  The one on the left is said to be a photo of a voucher collected in Ecuador by Timothy Plowman. The ones on the right were said to be taken in Ecuador as well.
  I do not know their photographers.



  These next two tips are both Ecuadorian pachanoi sold by Karel Knize in Lima, Peru and shipped to Texas.


  Now this is going to start to get interesting. Or perhaps at some point it will become just boringly repetitive, so feel free to skip ahead whenever that happens to you.
  On the left below is a pachanoi in Peru and on the right is a US horticultural pachanot.
  Pay particular attention to the spination, areoles, flower buds, flowers, pericarpels, tubes, scales, hairs arising from the axils of those scales, the fruit and the contour of the ribs.



  Ecuadorian pachanoi from Knize (KK339) on the left and on the right pachanot




  Ecuadorian pachanoi from Knize (KK339) on the left and on the right pachanot



  bona fide pachanoi can sometimes be encountered in the US as is shown on the left (Photo by Anonymous) and on the right is our pachanot again.



  Peruvian pachanoi on the left (photograph by Grizzly) and on the right pachanot.



  Peruvian pachanoi from Matucana (photo from Kitzu) on the left and on the right pachanot.



  Ecuadorian pachanoi from Knize on the left and on the right pachanot.



Ecuadorian pachanoi from Knize on the left and on the right pachanot.


  Ecuadorian pachanoi from Knize on the left and on the right pachanot.


  Flower buds
  Upper left image is from Peru: Photographer is unknown to us.
  The bottom left and the entire right column are pachanot.


  Flower buds
In Peru on left (Geneva Photography)/ On right is the pachanot


  A closer look
In Peru on left (Geneva Photography)/ On right is the pachanot


  In Peru on left (Photographer?)/ On right is the pachanot


  Ovary & tube
In Peru on left (Geneva Photography)/ On right is the pachanot


  Flower tube/receptacle
  Bona fide pachanoi growing in Oz is on left (photo by Zariat) and on right is typical US pachanot cultivar.



  pachanoi near Cuzco, Peru on left (Geneva photography) and pachanot in Oakland, California on right



  Flowers & fruit:
  Peruvian pachanoi photographed by Friedrich Ritter is on the top left and two more Peruvian pachanoi are below it. The pachanot on the right were in California.




  The next image is all the US pachanot cv.
  For pachanoi the ovaries were described as being covered with black wool.
  While these typically do show very short black or dark brown hairs along the axils of the scales on the tube and similarly on the ovary/fruit they are generally obscured by white and/or light brown and/or greyish wool and can be absent. Compare this with the examples of similar locations on the floral tube, ovary and fruit on the Peruvian pachanoi shown above.




  Peruvian pachanoi on left. pachanot on right.


To bring this conversation back towards the elephant in the room:

 If anyone wonders WHY this cultivar now predominates the US market almost to uniformity consider that it shows intense vigor permitting commercial operations such as can be seen below.
  This shows but a small part of a single professional propagator’s mother plants:
(Photos by Anonymous)



   Reflect on this undeniable observation: The pachanot is much faster growing, far more cold tolerant, and is both more rot resistant and more water tolerant than a bona fide Trichocereus pachanoi. In fact if a person pumps their pachanot with water it grows almost as well as watermelons.
The simple mechanics of its vegetative propagation combined with its popularity as an ornamental obviously would favor it becoming the predominate horticultural offering over a fairly short period of time (in this case a few decades – possibly as little as around fifty years if it involved Paul Hutchison but there is also evidence suggesting it might have occurred as long ago as the 1930s if it was something from Harry Blossfeld. A more detailed discussion of the existing evidence will be appearing in the next edition of the San Pedro book which will be available on this website along with the rest of Sacred Cacti 4th edition.)

   A small group of friends and I are still actively searching for confirmation that this is what actually occurred.
  It is now so prevalent in US horticulture that it is presently fairly rare to encounter anything else being produced commercially.

   If anyone has more information concerning this plant’s origin, especially if you have facts to the contrary and/or if you can tell us its precise point of entry into US horticulture or offer any additional details, please contact us at:



DOT  net


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Photos are by Keeper Trout except where indicated otherwise.

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pachanoi or pachanot?

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Pachanoi or pachanot; Topic 1 Backeberg

Or more specifically why “Backeberg’s clone” is mythology


  I unfortunately have helped to widely propagate this mistake (now an established urban legend) in print by including it in my books Sacred Cacti and San Pedro.

  What most people refer to as Backeberg’s clone is the predominate cactus sold as Trichocereus pachanoi  in US horticulture.

  We have all no doubt seen many thousands of feet of it growing in countless people’s gardens in multiple states.

  It is even featured in the very center of the front cover of the Trout’s Notes book San Pedro which has an entire section of photographs more or less devoted to it.

  While the search is still ongoing and far from complete, thusfar I can find no proof that this plant is known from the wild.

  Just to be sure that our subject is clear, here is an example or three (all are in California):


Trichocereus pachanot at LAA

  And a close-up of a fairly typical tip.

Trichocereus pachanot close

  And of a fairly typical areole.

Trichocereus pachanot spines & areole close-up


   And another picture showing a flowering plant that is still growing at the former site of Carl Eltzner’s cactus nursery in Oakland.

Trichocereus pachanot at Eltzner's in Oakland, California


   This on the other hand is Backeberg’s actual photograph of a bona fide Trichocereus pachanoi taken from his 1959 Die Cactaceae. (Backeberg encountered this plant in Peru.)

This IS Backeberg's collection of  Trichocereus pachanoi from Huancabamba, Peru; taken from Die Cactaceae


  The differences are both subtle and not so subtle.
Whatever the pachanot turns out to be it is clearly not the same creature that Backeberg shows here. For those not yet convinced please bear with me and check out some more images of bona fide pachanoi.


  This next image is a bona fide pachanoi growing in shaman’s garden near Cuzco, Peru (Photo copyright Geneva Photography; reproduced here with permission.)

  Notice how nicely this matches Backeberg’s photo and how different it is from the predominate cultivar in the USA?


Trichocereus pachanoi near Cuzco, Peru. Copyright by Geneva Photography


  This preceeding image will reappear with more comments elsewhere here but I wanted to have a copy here for ease of comparison with the other images on this page.

  This next shot shows a close-up of a tip of a Peruvian pachanoi (the shininess is due to this tip cutting having been handled excessively).

Trichocereus pachanoi tip from the witches market in Lima, Peru. Copyright by Grizzly


For more of what appears to be the same thing
but obtained through an unrelated source


For a closer view of more of the same but
from Ecuador via yet another unrelated source


  Another view of another bona fide Trichocereus pachanoi in Peru.


Trichocereus pachanoi growing in Peru. Copyright by Grizzly


Both photographs above are copyright Grizzly.


Just to be sure that no one forgets that pachanoi can be variably spiny.


  We will be exploring this subject in more detail but could summarize this by saying that the plant now mistakenly called Backeberg’s clone (namely our pachanot) is not the same plant Backeberg recognized as pachanoi at Huancabamba and claims to have brought into horticulture in Germany in 1931.

  I have some questions about this latter claim as well as it appears that pachanoi may already have been *in horticulture in the USA* by, if not well before, 1930 and it does not appear that anyone in Europe or elsewhere preserved any knowledge of which European pachanoi might have come from Backeberg.


All photographs are © copyright by their photographers.
Photos are by Keeper Trout except where indicated otherwise.

Use your back button to return.

To go back to the article:

pachanoi or pachanot?

Additional material to ponder: 


Copyright © by Keeper Trout