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Peruvian Torch cactus
Peruvian Torch cactus (Echinopsis peruviana syn. Trichocereus peruvianus) is a fast-growing columnar cactus native to the western slope of the Andes in Peru, between about 2000-3000 meters above sea level.
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.
Additional recommended knowledge
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).
|This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Peruvian_Torch_cactus". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.|