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Acton, CA(Zone 8b)

This is one the beefiest Cleistocacti I have seen... no idea what species it is either... could even be another genus. But has very Cleistocactus-looking flowers. About 5" in diameter (column thickness) and long orange-yellow spines. Anyone seen this and know what it is? This plant is about 5' tall.

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Tucson, AZ

Probably not a Cleistocactus. They are not that stout. I'm leaning more toward Oreocereus. Possibly O. trollii.
http://davesgarden.com/pf/go/66781/index.html Unfortunately there are no pics here at Daves of an O. trollii flower but here's one of another species with very similar flowers. http://davesgarden.com/pf/go/105141/index.html


Phoenix, AZ(Zone 9b)

The flowers look like Cleistocatus style......
The spines resemble C. hyalacanthus which is thicker and columnar.

This message was edited Feb 11, 2007 8:59 AM

Vista, CA

definitely cleisto flower.

Vista, CA


Oreocereus has cleisto flower. Long gold spination of that proportion points to most probably Oreocereus leucotrichus. No documented Cleistocactus I know has the degree of spination along with the wool. Cactus Lexicon describes flower purple to scarlet near apex. This puppy is flower crazy. Looks to have buds along the body and some flowers are not apexial at all. (acts like Cleistocactus in that regard).

Pretty sure it is O. leucotrichus. seems you are lucky to get it flowering, very unusual to find a flowering Oreocereus here. the season would be right for flowering since it is mid-summer. I don't recall having flowered O. leucotrichus.

great find! Did the nursery have more of them. That is a great Calif. landscape plant!!


Acton, CA(Zone 8b)

Nope, that's the only one I saw there at the time, but if you are ever up in Ojai, this is a wonderful nursery (Desert Images) with an incredible selection of large cacti.

Sure makes sense (to me) that it would be something other than a Cleistocactus... never seen one this thick... much more along the lines of something like an Oreocereus in width. But WOW... how old is a plant that tall? My other Oreocereus are growing like slugs... will be many years/decades before they are this tall.

This message was edited Feb 12, 2007 10:31 PM

Vista, CA

Once they get rooted in bright light they grow moderately fast. Luecotrichus should start branching at base to form a nice shrub-like clump, as do most Oreos..

I have large clump of celsiana (gifted to me by the Sternbergs 22 year ago). Trolli is much smaller but has also clumped more like our N. American Fero. in habit. Another and most dramatic clump (maybe because of its placement is O. psuedofossulatus.) It seems to characterize the essence of the quintessential desert scene in its sparsely populated upward-curving-at-base erect clump form.

I have least issues with Andes columnar plants than any other, especially the Oreocereus, and white Cleistos. Espostoas are very slow. The weather (the cold, rain, heat and extreme brightness of spring and fall Santana "hot" days and drought). These plants don't wemp out for anything. They don't 'go crazy and dominate" any place in the landscape either. Many of the Cleistos are well-behaved too, but some will dominate. there used to be a strain of Cleistocactus straussii (v. frichii) around that was most appealling of the S. American columnar whites. I haven't seen it around, I have it in my upper hillside garden. It has been happy there for 22 years. Maintains itself with no help.

I want to visit that Nursery,

thanks for the tip.



Phoenix, AZ(Zone 9b)

I agree on the O. leucotrichus ID

One thing you said...Quote..."No documented Cleistocactus I know has the degree of spination along with the wool. ....."
Look on page 157 of "The Cactus Family" by Anderson,,, and you'll find one (Cleistocactus hylalacanthus). I guess it all depends on the fine line that's drawn between wiggly hairs and straighter hairs.
There might be more, but I didn't go through all of the Cleisto's

This message was edited Feb 13, 2007 7:47 AM

Vista, CA

I know C. hylacanthus, You are right. Should qualify a little better, "No documented columnar Cleisto has the degree of spination along with wool...(LOL)

good call Xeno.


Chandler, AZ(Zone 9b)

Sorry to dredge up an old thread, but I recently obtained a Cleisto identified as "Cleistocactus strausii var. frichii" here in the valley. It was noted as being a much 'stouter/thicker' variety of the regular C. strausii with flower color a bit more on the purple side and much whiter hairs.
In my google search of trying to find out more about this variety, THIS post is the only one I can find that mentions it!

Does anyone have any other info on this variety? Like, when/where it was described, etc.?

Any help is appreciated!

Phoenix, AZ(Zone 9b)

J. Borg describes it in the 1976 book "Cacti" pages 194-195.
Quote: var.Fricii, Doerfler; "Stems thickly furnished with straight long white hairs at the top.

"C. strausii var strausii: entirely covered with delicate white spines. Whitish wool with 30 or more hair-like, straight, white bristles about 1.5 cm long, and about 4 pale yellow spines 2-4 cm long. (per areole).

There is a popular variety in cultivation where the 4 central spines are glassy white and only slightly longer than the bristle-like radilas.

Chandler, AZ(Zone 9b)

Thanks Xeno - that certainly fits my plant to a tee!
Always fun to find a new Cleisto!
(also got a free cutting at the same nursery of one of their in-ground not-for-sale unidentified Cleistos I'd had my eye on for a while...finally able to sweet-talk them! = ) I think it is a C. smaragdiflorus with more golden spines...time will tell!).

Cannelton, IN(Zone 6b)

i have one.:) I bought this a few months back. It is labeled C. strausii. It is a little over a foot long. The wind has bent it over twice and it comes right back.

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Sun Lakes, AZ(Zone 9a)

I like your little blooming aloe too, Gary.

Cannelton, IN(Zone 6b)

I like it too, Nancy. The flowers are so tiny.

Thumbnail by smashedcactus Thumbnail by smashedcactus
Sun Lakes, AZ(Zone 9a)

What is it? I can almost see the name. Looks like it is a hybrid.

Cannelton, IN(Zone 6b)

Aloe descoingsii x haworthioides

Sun Lakes, AZ(Zone 9a)

Thanks, I have one called Aloe 'Pepe' and I looked it up on the Internet and it is Aloe descoingsii x haworthioides! I thought it looked familiar. Mine has not bloomed yet.

Edited to say: Here's an interesting article on Aloe 'Pepe' at:


This message was edited Aug 7, 2012 4:19 PM

Chandler, AZ(Zone 9b)

Xeno - what do you know about- or have literature on - regarding Cleistocactus nivosus. The entries on this site are confusing to say the least; some lists (like cactiguide.com) don't even list it as a species or a synonym.

Is it really a valid taxon truly separable from C. strausii (incl. frichii)? Is the petal-tip color described in the entry truly the only distinguishing character?
Any info would be greatly appreciated!

Phoenix, AZ(Zone 9b)

A couple of years ago a DG member, "Stake" (who has passed on now) & I were in heavy discussions about the C. nivosus and decided to include it in the PlantFiles because of the differences between it and C. strausii. He made a very good case for it in some D-mails with me. It is described in the book by Borg "Cacti" 1976 Pg. 195: (see photo)

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Chandler, AZ(Zone 9b)

Thanks, Xeno - that helps tremendously.
However, looking at photos here and elsewhere, I'm still not convinced of its distinctiveness as I can't see any specific character that would separate the two. Of course, some of the photos may not be ID'd correctly, which confuses things.
But, I will keep an eye out. Would like to figure this one out.

Northern California, CA(Zone 9b)

I remember there was a slightly contentious thread about this. I have no opinion. I would go with you and Stake, Xeno. I might have already! LOL

So are mine in the right place?

I have pictures under both. I can't remember if Stake guided my placement.

Phoenix, AZ(Zone 9b)

Here's a thread on the subject

Chandler, AZ(Zone 9b)

Interesting read. Although, the irony here is Borg spends a whole paragraph describing C. nivosus, but the gist I am getting is that the real only distinguishing character is "straight" vs "slightly curved" flowers. I have to say, that is hardly a diagnostic characteristic - at least based upon C. strausii specimens I've seen, and I find it hard to believe there are THAT many C. nivosus parading around as C. strausii.

Still, without a technical outline of ALL the supposed differences, I think C. nivosus is tenuous at best as a valid taxon. It may be a valid name, and I agree with Stake in that it was published properly, so should at least be mentioned as a synonym of a valid name somewhere. I guess that is what is baffling to me - I don't see it synonymized anywhere....it seems to have simply dropped off the face of the planet.

Stake also has a good point about the very unusual flowers (for C. strausii) posted under that species (flowers more closely approaching C. hyalacanthus & C. tupizensis); I agree with him that they are not C. strausii.

The Mystery continues....and LOVE a great taxonomic mystery! = )

Phoenix, AZ(Zone 9b)

I also recall a conversation with "faeden" about this and her position was that since it was not carried forward into later books and not even listed as a synonym, that it was not considered to be a valid species nowadays. It is not listed anywhere in Anderson 2001 or in Hunt 2007 books. Also, there are many species that were dropped if you go back to Britton & Rose. I'm thinking that *maybe* the C. nivosa page should be combined with the C. strausii page.
I would also welcome any other views on this matter.

Chandler, AZ(Zone 9b)

I think combining the two at this point is the best course with an added comment explaining the situation. The range of C. nivosus being so "non-specific" and lying entirely within the range of C. strausii is also suspicious.

Interesting tidbit about validity of names; certainly different from the ornithological rules of nomenclature!

Phoenix, AZ(Zone 9b)

As a refresher, what do know about that particular ornithological rule of nomenclature?

Chandler, AZ(Zone 9b)

Basically, if the name is validly published, it doesn't just 'disappear'...it may be later synonymized or "corrected" if the Latin designation is incorrect [for example, feminine/masculine], but unless it was invalidly published as a nomen nudum, it should at least be referenced under the taxon with which it is associated (if "lumped" or found to be a synonym).
In this case, it just seems like authors have effectively ignored the name....hence the confusion. It's not like it is difficult to find reference to the name...after all, the Borg publication isn't exactly some place bizarre, unknown, or impossible to find. So, it was a bit tongue-in-cheek when comparing nomenclature rules, but what I was getting at is that it doesn't seem to make any sense why major players in cactus taxonomic works seem to have left it out.

Just my take... reality may be a bit different! = )

Chandler, AZ(Zone 9b)

Perhaps part of the issue - and the reason some may consider it invalidly published - was that there seems to be no type designated in the description. At least with birds, such a type is required (although in ornithological circles, the definition of a 'type' is still debated...the nomenclature rules are a bit ambiguus regarding types in today's day in age).

Phoenix, AZ(Zone 9b)

I don't recall now which species, but there have been at least two species in the Britton & Rose Pub. that are a dead end too.
It would take some searching here in DG to find which ones, but I do we recall that we deemed them archaic and as a discontinued epithet even though they were not named as a synonym later. I'll search a little for them.

Phoenix, AZ(Zone 9b)

Here's some related talk about it. http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/t/881950/?hl=Britton+Rose+Opuntia

Chandler, AZ(Zone 9b)

Great discussion in that link, Xeno; and, I think the implication that lack of designation of a type collection has been a component of the criteria used by recent authors to 'disount' published names.

I apologize to all if this thread has gotten a bit off course, but I love taxonomic mysteries!
Another is Cleistocactus hadrossoma...a name communicated to me as existing in a European collection, but for which I cannot find a speck of mention anywhere in the literature!
Maybe I should start a different thread?? = )

Thanks though for the continued discourse. I've learned a lot, and as Caroline Ingalls is want to say, "No day is a waste if you've learned something." ; )

Henderson, NC(Zone 7b)

The very top picture!!! Never seen that plant before but would never get tired of looking at it. Love it and will be looking for one. Wonder if I could keep it alive here? What soil? Light? Goodness, so many questions and so little knowledge.

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