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Peruvian Torch / Trichocereus Peruvianus1
Peru is 496,000 square miles west of the Brazilian rain forests. The Andes mountains create varying climates in valleys and plains. This explains variations in the Trichocereus tribe.
(above) Interesting cross section illustration shows the mountain valleys where specific Trichocereus varieties have grown for centuries.
Many plant species exhibit great diversity in appearance. Think about apples. There are hundreds of commercially viable apple tree varieties; Granny Smith, Golden Delicious, Winesap, Gala, Newton Pippin, Red Delicious, Fuji, MacIntosh, etc. Similarly there are many varieties of Trichocereus Peruvianus. In contrast I only know of one Bridgesii and one San Pedro; but with the Peruvian Torch there are many subtle and no so subtle differences. These pages are my effort, as a grower, to document some Peruvian Torch varieties I have collected so you may see their characteristics.
August, 2008
Lost DNA or just a mutt?
Fairy tales can make people believe all sorts of odd things; even swear they are true. The "short spined KK242" and "lost DNA" hype about a common hybrid is a good example.
July, 2008
Fastest growing Peruvianus
I can't identify the exact variety but it grows insanely fast. A cutting that I rooted in May, 2007 exploded into this 5 foot monster by July, 2008. In one year it went from cutting to a 10 gallon pot, and now needs a 20 gallon one.
May, 2008
A mislabeled picture
Confusion is spreading about identification of the classic Peruvianus.
Hopefully this documentation will shed light on the problem.
June, 2006
Botanical references document what the official "Peruvianus" was years ago. Here is a high resolution (400K image) of what the old guys were talking about back in 1920.
Varieties identified in Peru
Collectors identify the varieties of plants they locate by a site number. This is then defined in a guide as to the elevation and geographical location. In Peru a supplier of seed for many types of plants is Karel Knize. His service is a problem as has been his mislabeling of specimens. With that in mind here is are some photos of various Peruvian wild grown Trichocereus.

More: Problems with KK seed...
June, 2006
Peruvian cactus are not necessarily The Peruvianus

My collection has about 8 peruvian types. Here are photos of 7 of them. Whatever a "true Peruvianus" is, or was, may be lost to history. But one can make some sense of these—the San Pedro and the Bridgesii are easily identified and reliable in their nature.

The real interest I have is in the specimens that grow fat, with long spines and blue skin. I hope to one day have a row of these the size of trees!

More...
The 8th specimen rescued from Cactus Kate's nursery
This is my best guess of what the old farts from 1920 saw in a garden show and described as the Trichocereus Peruvianus.

It is the only specimen that I did not purchase or grow from seed. Instead it was rescued from the knee high grass of a defunct nursery after the owner died.

More...
A specimen is from the Stockton, California area
This is where Bob Ressler lived before he moved to Arizona. It is one of the true Peruvianus varieties he identified on his site, columnar-cacti.org

Tree sized
Peruvianus V Ressler

Ressler's images are used on websites all over the Internet as the standard for San Pedro and Peruvian Torch. (I've seen his flowering San Pedro picture used by several seed sellers, for example.)
Full review of this joke of a book...
Want to be really confused?
Who is Trout? Does he or she hide their real name for fear of being raided for drugs? I think so. The author is hiding his or her identity as, too, are the photo contributors with names like "Oz." These are all phantom people, not real ones.

The text is reminiscent of a pretentious college term paper thrown together the night before it was due. No one edited the text, and this is a book that screams for editing. Equally bad are the pictures—a dizzying "kitchen sink" of unedited B&W snaps of flower pot cacti from mysterious sources. Why mysterious? One  can imagine that the drug cult owners, like "Oz", eat them as fast as they grow.

Trout's confusion is typical of armchair expert's relying on second hand information. There is no actual field research here, no trip to Peru or the official collection sites for Trichocereus. The ambiguity derives from old farts (Briton & Rose) who described cacti seen 70 years ago at garden shows. Britton died during the Great Depression and his buddy Rose in 1928. Who knows what they saw?

Fast forward to the present and you have Trout's favorite Peruvian cacti guru Karel Knize who pillages the hillsides of the Andes to export cacti seeds and cuttings to those who can pay the hefty import costs. This is long distance research by proxy, then documenting the sloppy identifications made by that proxy. Sort of like hiring a freshman with bad grades in another country to do your research—then criticizing the trustworthiness of the data collected.

Fishman Trout accuses Knize of mislabeling cuttings, photos, etc. I understand, because I've accused Knize of stealing money sent for seed, only receiving it after numerous letters asking when he'd mail my seed. In 2006 and 2007 Knize sent non-viable seed with lousy to zero germination.

So forget about Knize
, forget about over glorified "experts" from 70 years ago, and forget about pompous "expert" fish. Let's move on!
 
1Echinopsis is the "new" classification but I do not use it. I still prefer Trichocereus.
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