Wednesday, October 30, 2013

"Peruvian Torch"

also known as Trichocereus peruvianus

"How to recognize a short spined T. peruvianus"
by Michael S Smith, posted 2007-12-17 to []:
Here's a little something I wrote at The Nook (here) regarding the so-called "short spined T. peruvianus" and which I thought might be of interest to those who aren't members. Sorry if a repeat of ideas already familiar. I put it here as I think this "species" is in fact just a form of T. pachanoi.
I've talked about this elsewhere in maybe some more depth, but let me see what I can do to clarify the issue of the "short spined T. peruvianus" again.
The name "short spined T. peruvianus" is a name I made up myself when I got the plant in the following photo from Cactus Corral (CC). At the time CC was trying to get rid of a lot of its larger plants and I believe this particular clone was then sold to California Cactus Center (CCC) who quickly started selling the identical clone, also calling it its original name of simply "T. peruvianus."

When I got the plant it was simply called "T. peruvianus," and because I didn't want to change the species name, but find a way to differentiate it from what was generally called T. peruvianus at the time, I called it the "short spined T. peruvianus." At the time the following sort of plant was the most common one being referred to as T. peruvianus.

Now I've argued quite actively that the plant above isn't T. peruvianus, but rather more along the lines of T. cuzcoensis. Since then plants similar to the one immediately below have been in my estimate properly regarded as T. peruvianus.

So now you can see that this last plant, the proper T. peruvianus, and the one in the first photo, the "short spined T. peruvianus," aren't the same with just a difference in the spines, and it took a bit more thinking for me to figure it all out.
At the same time as the really spiney plant in the second photo was being called T. peruvianus the following plant was consided an accurate representation of T. pachanoi.

Currently though I don't think this plant immediately above, commonly referred to as the "Backeberg clone" or "Predominant cultivar" (both names whose origin resides in K. Trout), is an accurate representation of T. pachanoi as I haven't found it represented at all in the ranges known for T. pachanoi. The plant in the following photos are a good representations of what I believe T. pachanoi to be:
T. pachanoi "Kimnach":

T. pachanoi from Matucana, Peru:
T. pachanoi from Wildflowers of Heaven:

T. pachanoi from South Bay nursery:

From this you can see that T. pachanoi is not the same plant as the so-called "Backeberg clone" in fourth photo, but you can also see that the "proper" T. pachanoi has some natural degree of variation. So in the end I think the plant in the first photo, the so called "short spined T. peruvianus" is nothing other than another variation of T. pachanoi as they are represented in Ecuador and Peru, but since this "short spined" plant is somewhat distinct in its formation, particularly regarding the spine formations, there is probably enough to simply say it is a "clone" and make an attempt to only apply the name to those which are this particular clone. Unfortunately is what we have is a lot of people calling whatever variation of proper Ecuador/Peru T. pachanoi the "short spined T. peruvianus" because they still consider the so-called "Backeberg clone" an accurate representation of T. pachanoi, this when it clearly is not.
I think any plant being called the "short spined T. peruvianus" should....1) be the proper clone, and....2) not be thought of as T. peruvianus at all, but rather as a particular form of the variable T. pachanoi.
I've argued elsewhere that there appears to be a nice intergrade of the quite spineless and relatively non-glaucous T. pachanoi you can find in Ecuador and northern Peru and the long spined very glaucus T. peruvianus of central Peru. I think that mans interests in these plants had carried T. pachanoi south and that it has had ample opportunity to interbreed with central Peru's T. peruvianus to create intergrades. As for these intergrades, well I think we commonly call them T. macrogonus. But since the name T. macrogonus on many points seems invalid (something Trout and I have both agreed up) the most we can do if we want to stick to the names considered acceptatable is try to divy up what degree of spination and degree of glaucusness puts any particular plant either in T. pachanoi or in T. peruvianus. I personally lean more towards maintaining T. peruvianus as being more locallized in central peru and of a particular form while considering T. pachanoi much more variable, from nearly spineless to having spines of some length. Therefore I am more inclined to calling more plants, even if of wide variability, T. pachanoi than T. peruvianus.

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