'Huancabamba' Peruvian Torch Cactus
'Huancabamba' Peruvian Torch Cactus
'Huancabamba' Peruvian Torch Cactus
'Huancabamba' Peruvian Torch Cactus

'Huancabamba' Peruvian Torch Cactus

Regular price $4.50 Sale

Trichocereus spp.

Origin: Peru (via Florida)

Improvement status: Landrace

Seeds per packet: ~20


 Life cycle: Perennial

'Huancabamba' is a tall, stately, columnar cactus from Peru, said to be a Peruvian torch cactus (Trichocereus peruvianus). Closely related to — and possibly a hybrid with — the more well-known San Pedro cactus (Trichocereus pachanoi), both species have a long history of use as medicine and in spiritual/shamanistic practices. Like San Pedro, this species contains mescaline, the hallucinogenic substance that gives peyote its potency, though torch cactus contains far less mescaline than peyote and is legal to grow and possess. Huancabamba is a town in northern Peru, in the foothills of the Andes, and is widely considered a major spiritual center thanks to the presence of lagoons above the town that are regarded as sacred as well as the large number of traditional healers (curanderas & curanderos) who practice there.

Peruvian torch cacti are fast-growing (up to 18 inches per year) and can get very tall in the wild (up to nearly 20 feet!). They take well to container culture and can stand being overwatered more than most cacti. They are relatively frost hardy, able to withstand temperatures down to 26 degrees, but they are unlikely to be able to survive year-round below USDA Zone 9. Their white flowers are spectacularly beautiful.

We got our seed from our friends at Sheffield's Seed Company in Locke, NY, who report that it was grown in Florida. There are some questions online about whether or not the 'Huancabamba' strain of Peruvian torch cactus is actually a hybrid with San Pedro cactus (Trichocereus pachanoi), so it wouldn't be unexpected to find some diversity among the seedlings these seeds produce.

GROWING TIPS: Seeds are surprisingly easy to grow, needing no pre-treatment of any kind. They do require light to germinate, so they should be surface-sown. Keep moist until seedlings appear.

NOTE: First photo shows a similar-looking San Pedro cactus in an image from  Jkadavoor and shared under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license. Flowering photo and seedling photo are public domain. Photo of Huancabamba, Peru, is from  Gerd Breitenbach and shared under the  Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.