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Pilosocereus or Pachycereus?

Don
4 months ago

Is this a Pilosocereus pachycladus or sometype of Pachycereus?



Comments (6)

  • Kara 9b SF Bay Area CA
    4 months ago

    I second the Pilocereus!

    Don thanked Kara 9b SF Bay Area CA
  • Don
    Original Author
    last month

    Both of your comments convinced me it is probably Pilosocereus, but further meandering on the internet brought me to the Desert Planet company website where I found a photo of Neoraimondia herzogiana which seemed to me a close match to my small 2.5"x5.5"columnar cactus. The common characteristics I noted are grey-green color not bluish, brown spines, tanish aureoles, seven ribs, smooth transition between ribs with no creases. The On-line Guide to the positive ident... says N Herzogiana is common worldwide which is consistent with my finding it in a local garden center. Do you think I am barking up the wrong tree cactus?🤔

  • Kara 9b SF Bay Area CA
    last month
    last modified: 29 days ago

    Sorry it’s taken me a few days to respond.

    I don’t really see N. herzogiana in your cactus.

    Pilosocereus aren’t always just blue or glaucous, but can be gray green according to cactusexpert.org. The areoles on herzogiana seem to be super felted and peglike. Another thing I have noticed with herzogiana, the spines are vicious no matter what pic I’ve looked at, and can get up to almost 10 in. long.

    Even when small the spines are fairly long,

    not my pic.



    Sometimes when idling a certain angle will help. For me when I look at your second pic, that looks more Pilocereus, it’s the way the new growth is.

    See how felty the herzogiana areoles are and how long the spines are.

    another pic that isn’t mine🙂.



    Pilosocereus pachycladus for example the spines stay at around a little over an inch.

    According to cactusexpert.org N. herzogiana maxes out at 8 ribs and your little guy has 7 so you’ll know fairly soon.

    Lastly, if you don’t mind me asking, where did you buy your cactus?

    I know N. herzogiana can be purchased online, but tbh I have never ever seen this particular cactus sold at big box stores, nurseries or succulent/cactus shows. Pilosocereus pachycladus is like the second most sold cactus behind E. grusonii aka Golden Barrel. I’m not saying yours is pachycladus, but keep that in mind.

    Like cactusmcharris said above columnar cactus are tricky to id when young. A lot of them have a generic look to them. Plus they all look the same, but different at the same time, and look completely different as a young specimen compared to mature one.

    Edit: I can‘t stop thinking that if it’s true that N. herzogiana maxes out at only eight ribs, but can get 16 inches in diameter. I find that interesting😀.

  • Don
    Original Author
    last month

    Thank you Kara so much for your extended commentary. I am impressed and grateful. I am rushed at the moment, but more later.

  • Don
    Original Author
    28 days ago

    I have more time now. You asked where I purchased it. I purchased this small columnar cactus at Skillin's a small chain of garden centers in southern Maine specializing in landscaping shrubs and trees as well as annual flowers. Not quite sure why you wanted to know. I understand that it can be difficult to ID young columnar cacti, but your belief is that mine is P. pachycladus. Certainly the central spines on my cactus are less than an inch long, whereas your photos of herzogiana show longer spines. Possibly spine length is the key characteristic to ID.

    I was thinking rib number was a key characteristic. You said herzogiana maxes out at 8 ribs, but I could not find that at the cactus expert blog. In fact, I found the cactusexpert.org mostly unintelligible. I find it very difficult to count ribs in photos because they rarely give one a top view. Have you found species descriptions that give numbers of ribs for pachycladus and for herzogiana?

    Photos of P. pachycladus and P. azureus, which I am told is the same species, show a distinct crease below each aureole, which mine definitely does not have. That seems to me to argue against pachycladus. I found one photo out of ten on CactiGuide of P. pachycladus that looks very like mine, light green instead of bluish, no creases under the aureoles, but the spines are much longer as in your photos of herzogiana.

    One final thought. I am always suspicious whether photos I find online are accurately identified.