Peruvian torch (Trichocereus peruvianus)


von msscacti (TperuvianusVarKnuthianusNMCR  Uploaded by uleli) [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Image by von msscacti published under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Common

The name "Trichocereus peruvianus" consists of the name of the genus Trichocereus and the epithet "peruvianus", which refers to the location of the first copy discovered, the Lima region of Peru. Said specimen was collected in 1914 from the honorable cactus enthusiast Joseph Nelson Rose and his charming wife Lou Beatrice near the town of Matucana at an altitude of 2100 meters.

In cooperation with N. L. Britton, Rose made the first description of the cactus as "Trichocereus peruvianus" in 1920.

Other common names are Giganton, Hualtu, Peruvian torch and San Pedro Macho.

Prepared as a potion the cactus is called “Huachuma” or “Cimora”, this name originated in the context of ritual use by medicine men of the pre-Inca culture. The potion was said to be able to show the connection between the disease and the spiritual condition of the patient.



The Peruvian torch is a fast growing cactus plant that reaches a maximum height of from up to 20 inches. The Trichocereus peruvianus is coined by its 6 to 8 ribs, which have a round shape. Compared to San Pedro cactus, the Peruvian torch has spines that are significantly longer. The Spines can reach a length of up to 3,9 inches (cf. San Pedro= 0,8 inch). The Peruvian torch is characterized by its notches above the areoles.

The color of the Peruvian torch is a slightly bluish shade of green. The blossom –which only shows up at night- has an adorable white color and a captivating odor. The flowers can reach a diameter of up to 10 inches.


Natural spread

The natural habitat of the Peruvian torch is –as already presumed by the attentive reader- the Peruvian Andes. In the range of slopes at an altitude of 2000 to 3400 meters, the Trichocereus peruvianus is a frequently seen cactus.

The Peruvian torch has certain natural preferences that must be considered when growing it at home. So the cactus does not grow on soil that has too high nitrogen content (that’s why you can´t use a standard fertilizer on this plant)

Therefore, it is not recommended to mix a high proportion of composted material into the substrate.

Taking this into account the Peruvian torch is not very prone to overhydration. The soil should be moist at all times but NEVER wet.

According to the  IUCN Peruvian torch cactus is counted among the group of "Least Concern" (LC), and is therefore not threatened with extinction but found in large number in the wild.


Peruvian torch here