Eulychnia saint-pieana (E. breviflora)
This is the most beautiful species of the genus , producing lots of short
white wool as a bed for those long spines. It's definitely a must for
any columnar collector!
It is a candelabriform or arborescent columnar succulent, much branched
from below, often with a well developed woody trunk. It has many ribs
which are set with large, white, woolly tufts accented by long central
Stems: Nearly erect, 3-7 m tall,
8-11 cm in diameter, greyish-green to dark green.
Ribs: 10-17 straight,
somewhat tuberculate, sometime furrowed between areoles.
Areoles: Close set, whit eavy wool and hairs.
Spines: 10-30, often purly differentiated as central and radials, brown
turning dull grey to chalky-white as they ages.
Central spines: 1-2 touter,
erect10-20 cm long
Radial spines: 0,5-2 cm
shaped, white to pale rose up to 2 cm long, segment mostly white with a
darker midstripe. They develop from
very woolly buds filled with dense brown to white wool and
bristles near the top of the plant. Areoles of floral tube and
pericarpel without stiff bristles. Tube densely scaly, and shorter than
Blooming season: Summer, the
flowers stay open day and night.
Fruit: Globose to pear shaped, up to 5-8 in diameter, fleshy, acid,
especially hairy when young. The fruit is edible, but not very tasty.
saint-pieana is a form with especially hairy areoles.
most recent classification is based broadly on the flowers. E.
acida has scaly flower tubes. E. castanea has
hairy and spiny flower tubes. E. breviflora has very hairy
flower tubes and incorporates E. ritteri and E.
iquiquensis as subspecies. The popular E. saint-pieana
was long ago sunk into E. breviflora, being a form
with especially hairy areoles. There is also a major difference in the
overall shape. E. acida tends to branch from a moderately
tall trunk, E. breviflora from a short trunk, and E.
castanea from ground level forming low wide bushes.
Propagation: This plant is easily grown on its own roots.
It can be increased by cuttings, which will take root in a minimum
temperature of 20° C. Cuttings of healthy shoots can be taken in the
spring and summer, Cut the stem with a sharp, sterile knife, leave the
cutting in a warm, dry place for a week or weeks (depending on how thick
the cutting is) until a callus forms over the wound. Once the callus
forms, the cutting may be inserted in a container filled with firmed
cactus potting mix topped with a surface layer of coarse grit. They
should be placed in the coarse grit only; this prevents the cut end from
becoming too wet and allows the roots to penetrate the rich compost
underneath. The cuttings should root in 2 to 6 weeks.
Scientific name: Eulychnia breviflora Philippi
In: Fl. Atac. 23, t. 2 1860
It is confined to the coastal Atacama
desert of northern Chile
The Copao (Eulychnia
breviflora) grows along the
coastal fog zone at an altitude from sea level to 300m, where it forms
extensive forests. It grows in areas where
very little else grows. It's a very drought tolerant species. Despite
the lack of rain where it lives, the
extreme aridity is attenuated by the frequent, often dense, coastal
fogs. The fog tends to concentrate in the form
of a cloud band. It
shows a recurrent pattern; usually it
is overcast in the early
mornings, the clouds dissipating during the late morning and returning
during the late afternoons.
Cacti near the coast are often covered
Conservation status: Listed in
CITES appendix 2.
Common Names include: Copao,
The name comes from the greek
thus a good lampstand. The "brevi" bit refers to the
appearance of the flowers which just barely peep out from a nest of fur.
Conservation status: Listed in
CITES appendix 2.
(Salm-Dick) F. Ritter 1965
Backeberg 1963 (Not validly pubblished)
f. Ritter 1964
F. ritter 1980
This Eulychnia is is very woolly seems to be a cross between an owl & a
Cultivation: This species
presents no problems in cultivation and will do well in a sunny spot in
a cactus house. These plants will tolerate sun and heat, but not
extended periods of frost. The crested form is more frost sensitive and
should not be kept at less than -0°C . Grow them in rich, porous, sandy
soil, and let their soil dry out between waterings. If potted, repot in
the spring, if their roots become cramped. Generally, they should be
repotted every other year in order to provide fresh soil. However, this
doesn't necessarily mean they'll need larger containers. Fill about a
quarter of the pot with broken crocks, gravel, etc. to promote good
drainage. After repotting, do not water for a week or more. The crested
plants enjoy a warm sunny environment and for more speedy growth a light
position on a higher shelf with light feeding and rainwater given to the
bottom of the plant will ensure success, especially with rooted detached
branches, which do well in these conditions.