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  Espostoa lanata CACTUS ART
NURSERY

Cultivation and Mail Sale
of Cacti and Succulents.


Espostoa lanata makes a beautiful individual specimen with hair as fine as the finest spun silk and a lustre which can only be called sheer.
 

Description: Slow growing tree shaped cactus branching at the top with age, 1,5 to 7 m tall. Like Cephalocereus  (the Old Man of Mexico) it is a densely hairy species, covered by a warm woolly coat and well adapted to high altitudes, the main difference is the presence of sharp spines on Espostoa. It is wide spread in in habitat and quite variable in size and spines for this reason it has received several names.
Stems: Cylindrical, erect or spreading, 6-10 cm in diameter from a short trunk (approx 1 m tall up to 20 cm in diameter).
Ribs: 18-25, low rounded, separated by linear furrows, approx 5-8 mm tall.
Areoles: Elliptical, closely set, 7-10 mm apart, almost concealed by white or yellowish hairs and spines. The hairs are neatly brushed, cunningly concealing the sharp spines that are a trap to the unwary.
Central spines: Absent or sometime1, 1-2.5 cm long
Radial spines: 30-40 acicular, spreading, reddish or yellowish brown, turning grey as they age, 3-8 mm long.
Flowers: The flowers arises from a lateral pseudocephalium up to 1 m long, 4-5 ribs wide, with brown or grey spines and wool contrasting with the snow-white spines on the rest of the body. The flowers are nocturnal, funnelform, nearly hidden by the wool, up to 5,5 cm long and 3,5 cm in diameter, white to purple. Small scales on the ovary and flowers tube, have long silky, caducous, hairs.
Blooming season: Late spring, early summer.
Fruit: Top shaped, near spherical approx 2,5 cm in long and in diameter, purplish-red, very juicy, sweet and edible. The colourful fruit project from the woolly mass of the lateral cephalium and are a startling sight.
Seeds: Very small, black and shining.
 


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Family: Cactaceae (Cactus Family)

Scientific name:  Espostoa lanata (Kunth) Britton & Rose

Origin: Southern Ecuador, northern Peru

Habitat: Mainly on the west slopes of the Andes

Conservation status: Listed in CITES appendix 2.

Common English Names include: Peruvian Old Man Cactus , Cotton Ball Cactus, Snowball Cactus, Snowball Old Man

Etymology:T he name of the genus, Espostoa, comes from the Peruvian botanist Nicholas Esposto.

Synonyms:

  • Cactus lanatus Kunth 1823
  • Cereus lanatus (Kunth) A.P. De Candolle 1828
  • Pilocereus lanatus (Kunth) F.A.C. Weber 1898
  • Cleistocactus lanatus (Kunth) F.A.C. Weber 1904
  • Oreocereus lanatus (Kunth) Britton & Rose 1916

Heterotypic synonyms:

  • Pilocereus dautwitzii Haage 1873
  • Cereus dautwitzii (Haage) Orcutt 1902
  • Espostoa dautwitzii (Haage) Borg 1937
  • Cereus sericatus Backeberg 1931
  • Cereus lanatus ssp. sericatus (Backeberg) Werdermann 1937
  • Espostoa sericata (Backeberg) Backeberg 1935
  • Espostoa lanata var. sericata
  • Espostoa procera Rahu & Backeberg 1957
  • Espostoa laticornua Rahu & Backeberg 1957

Espostoa is considered by some authors a monotypic genus, by others it include 4 species.
 

 


Cultivation:
It is easy to grow and cold hardy as low as -12C (or less). Need a fertile, well drained soil mix. Water the plants well and allow them to dry before watering again. This species seems to do better with a little more water than most cacti. During the growing season fertilize them monthly with a balanced fertilizer
Sun Exposure: Outside full sun, inside needs bright light, and some direct sun. During winter month, put them in a cool luminous place and encourage them to enter winter dormancy by withholding water and fertiliser over the winter as they will etiolate, or become thin, due to lower levels of light. They are susceptible to fungal diseases if overwatered, but are not nearly as sensitive as many other cacti, especially in warm weather. If kept damp through cold periods, they will invariably suffer.
Espostoa produces noticeable amounts of growth each year if kept well fed and watered throughout the warmest months, particularly if it has been acclimatised to accept full sun. Once this cactus is established it can easily produce 20 cm of growth every year.

Propagation: Cutting or from seed. The seeds are quite easy to germinate and grow. Their main requirements consist of high humidity levels, free-draining soil mix, and enough water, light, and nutrition

Traditional uses:
Woolly hairs of the cephalia have been used for pillow filling in Peru.
 

 

 

 

Photo gallery: Alphabetical listing of Cactus and Succulent pictures published in this site.

Photo gallery ESPOSTOA

Home | E-mail | Plant files | Mail Sale Catalogue | Links | Information | Search

All the information and photos in cactus art file are now available also in the new the Enciclopedia of Cacti. We hope you find this new site informative and useful.