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ECHINOPSIS chamaecereus

Image of Echinopsis chamaecereus



Botanical Name

ECHINOPSIS chamaecereus

Plant Common Name

Peanut Cactus

Special Notice

This entry has yet to be reviewed and approved by L2G editors.

General Description

Famous for its large, outstanding flowers, this sizable genus of South American cacti includes about 128 species. It is spread over a very large range to include Peru, Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Argentina. There are some American botanists who have retired the genus Trichocereus and lumped all of its species into Echinopsis, significantly enlarging its size. However, the Europeans have resisted such a move and references from the Old World have retained the original split. Therefore the two may be considered synonymous. This group is expected to be redefined often as DNA evidence sorts out the genetic differences. It will be complicated by the many hybrids, which are widely grown and collected due to their spectacular flowers.

This genus features cacti with a wide range of forms. They may be large and tree-like to very small and round, but nearly all are spiny and bear distinctive ribs. The areoles along their margins produce spines and flowers. This is a spring blooming cactus group, which bears trumpet shaped flowers that open at night or in the day, sometimes both. Its nocturnal flowering indicates adaptation to bat and moth pollinators. Blossoms are borne on the upper third of each stem and flowers may feature very long throats that give them a truly unique appearance. Fruits are moderately sized, fleshy or dry, containing glossy black and sometimes warty seed.

Key species for the genus must begin with Echinopsis oxygona, with its spectacularly large colored blossoms is the progenitor of many hybrids prized as container garden flowers. Echinopsis chiloensis of Peru is a large basally branching cactus suited to outdoor cultivation in a frost-free climate. Similarly the San Pedro, Echinopsis pachanoi is a columnar form less inclined to branch, but heralded as an important medicinal plant for the cultures within its range. Echinopsis species are easy to grow provided soil is well drained. The smaller fancy flowered hybrids ask for bright filtered shade because they are easily destroyed by sunburn and frost. They share a preference for dry winter conditions.


  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 10

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    12 - 15

  • Sunset Zone

    12, 13, 16, 17, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Cactus or Succulent

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun, Partial Shade

  • Height

    1'-33' / 0.3m - 10.1m

  • Width

    6"-36" / 15.2cm - 91.4cm

  • Bloom Time


  • Native To

    North America, Latin America and the Caribbean, Central America, South America, Brazil

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral, Alkaline

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Tolerances


  • Growth Rate


  • Water Requirements

    Xeric/Desert, Drought Tolerant

  • Habit


Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest


  • Flower Color

    White, Yellow, Red, Purple, Orange, Rose

  • Fruit Color


  • Fragrant Foliage


  • Bark or Stem Fragrant


  • Flower Petal Number


  • Repeat Bloomer


  • Showy Fruit


  • Edible Fruit


  • Showy Foliage


  • Evergreen


  • Showy Bark


Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Container, Houseplant, Rock Garden / Wall

  • Sharp or Has Thorns


  • Invasive


  • Attracts


  • Self-Sowing