P.C.Hutchison 1597

Trichocereus pachanoi  P.C.Hutchison 1597


  Trichocereus pachanoi Peru 57.0884.
Material came from Huancabamba Prov., Piura Dept., Peru. [Link 1] [Link 2]
Paul C. Hutchison collected this as live clones during the late 1950s. 

Hutchison Huancabamba T. pachanoi

    Sadly the display specimens of P.C.Hutchison 1597 periodically experiences heavy predation by thieves and is removed from public display to enable it to recover and survive. Almost all Botanical Gardens have regular plant sales that make such thievery a crime that is directed against everyone.


pachanoi or pachanot?

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Trichocereus pachanoi Knize

Knize‘s Ecuadorian Trichocereus pachanoi shipped from Lima, Peru.

Ecuadorian Trichocereus pachanoi from Knize viewedcloser Ecuadorian Trichocereus pachanoi from Knize viewed closer Ecuadorian Trichocereus pachanoi from Knize viewed closer Ecuadorian Trichocereus pachanoi from Knize viewedcloser

     Karel Knize’s collection numbers have created some lasting identification problems due to commonly being locality numbers rather than actual specimen collection numbers. What this means, if unfamiliar, is that the same number is assigned to plants that the collector believes are identical and growing within a given range of elevations in a particular region. Clearly that is a practice that is sometimes going to miss the mark.

     In this case, of course, Trichocereus pachanoi is an easy one to identify. 

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pachanoi or pachanot?

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Trichocereus pachanoi at Vilcabamba, Ecuador


   There are abundant Trichocereus pachanoi in the adjacent countryside.
Typically they are growing amidst the cover of nurse plants, this sometimes is including stands of Anadenanthera trees. Alana Cory-Collins has commented on there being a historical succession from snuff to cactus for the Chavín in Peru but was unclear where their Anadenanthera had come from only that it obviously came to them as a trade item.






This last image is a closer view of the preceding photograph.

Copyright by Hubbie Smidlak 2008

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Ecuador – short-spined Trichocereus pachanoi


  Three images shared by Michael Smith of  short-spined Trichocereus pachanoi growing in Ecuador.
  Spine length can be extremely variable so it surprisingly can often be a feature that does not help much with species assignment in this area. (Trichocereus peruvianus similarly expresses a range of spination from short to long.)




Ecuador – a spiny Trichocereus pachanoi


  A closer view of a spiny Trichocereus pachanoi cultivated at Quito, Ecuador.

  Both long and short spined forms of pachanoi are common in Ecuador (similar to the picture in Peru). It has been proposed that the short spined versions were developed by human selection but as far as I can tell this is entirely still speculative.

Ecuador pachanoi Hubbie Smidlak 2008

Image copyright by Hubbie Smidlak 2008;
reproduced with permission by Trout’s Notes


More pachanoi at Quito, Ecuador
pachanoi at Vilcabamba, Ecuador
pachanoi in Peru
pachanoi in Bolivia 

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pachanoi or pachanot?

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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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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)!


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


All photographs are copyright by their photographers.

Photos are by Keeper Trout except where indicated otherwise.

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