Peruvian Torch cactus
|Peruvian Torch cactus|
|Two distinct forms of Peruvian Torch cactus|
Two distinct forms of Peruvian Torch cactus
(Britton & Rose)
The plant is bluish-green in colour, with frosted stems, and 6-8 broadly rounded ribs; it has large, white flowers. It can grow up to 7 meters tall, with stems up to 20 cm in diameter; it is fully erect to begin with, but later possibly arching over, or even becoming prostrate. Groups of 6-8 honey-coloured to brown rigid spines, up to 4 cm in length, with most about 1 cm, are located at the nodes, which are evenly spaced along the ribs, up to approximately 2.5 cm apart.
A short-spined variant which is nearly identical in appearance to its relative, the San Pedro cactus, is known. It is therefore possible that many misidentified plants are being sold (both as Peruvian Torch and as San Pedro), but since local variations as well as hybrids do exist (both cultivated and natural), this will obviously make proper identification difficult.
It contains a number of psychoactive alkaloids, in particular the well-studied chemical mescaline, which it contains at higher levels than those of the San Pedro cactus (although not as high as peyote, as sometimes is stated wrongly).
The peruvian torch was used by a couple of religions and spiritual groups such as the shamans and native americans.
- James D. Mauseth, Roberto Kiesling, Cactus and Succulent Journal (US) 70 (1): 32-39
- Michael S. Smith, The Narcotic and Hallucinogenic Cacti of the New World
- Sacred Cacti - Trichocereus and related species
- Trichocereus peruvianus - Peruvian torch cactus
- Growing Trichocereus species (Plot55.com)
- Trichocereus peruvianus pictures