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OREOCEREUS

Image of Oreocereus

Michael Charters, www.calflora.net

Family

Cactaceae

Botanical Name

OREOCEREUS

Plant Common Name

Borzicactus

Special Notice

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

General Description

This South American genus contains just six species of columnar cacti. They are mountain cacti native to the high Andes where they thrive in extremes of temperature and drought. They are specific to parts of this range in southern Peru, northern Chile, southern Bolivia, and northern Argentina.

The species are characterized as low shrubs with cylindrical stems covered in dense, white hairs. These provide protection from high UV light at altitude and insulation from cold. Branching is minimal but when it does occur it is basal, sometimes forming clumps. Some species grow as tall as a man over many years, but the majority are low. Areoles often hidden beneath the white fluff produce long white hairs and dense spination.

Flowers are borne near the tips opening during the day. Some species bear cephalia, an unusual form of condensed growth that provides increased opportunity to flower without much stem growth. Blooms may be orange, red or purple. Following these are rounded fruits that may be fleshy or dry, containing shiny black seeds.

These cacti are popular potted specimens due to their white coloring, but they are quite sensitive to water. The most outstanding species include Old Man of the Andes, Oreocereus celsianus the most widely grown form. Another popular form completely obscured beneath its sheath of fine silk like dense wool is Oreocereus ritteria of Peru. Quite similar is the white haired Oreocereus trollii of Bolivia and Argentina, popular for its unique rounded form.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 1

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    13 - 15

  • Sunset Zone

    12, 13, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Cactus or Succulent

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun

  • Height

    6'-9' / 1.8m - 2.7m

  • Width

    4"-12" / 10.2cm - 30.5cm

  • Bloom Time

    Spring

  • Native To

    South America

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral, Alkaline

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Tolerances

    Drought

  • Growth Rate

    Very Slow

  • Water Requirements

    Xeric/Desert, Drought Tolerant

  • Habit

    Upright/Erect

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    Red, Purple, Orange

  • Fruit Color

    Red

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    No

  • Evergreen

    Yes

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Container, Houseplant, Rock Garden / Wall

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    Yes

  • Invasive

    No

  • Self-Sowing

    No