Trichocereus atacamensis | ‘Cardón Grande’ | Live plant

Trichocereus atacamensis is an impressive columnar cactus from Chile! Live plant.

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Trichocereus atacamensis | ‘Cardón’, ‘Cardón Grande’, ‘Cardón de la Puna’, ‘Cavul’, ‘Pasakana’ | Live plant

(syn. Cereus atacamensis, Echinopsis atacamensis, Helianthocereus atacamensis)

This listing is for the type species of Trichocereus atacamensis, available as seed-grown, well-rooted plants, in limited quantity.

Trichocereus atacamensis (synonymous with Cereus atacamensis, Echinopsis atacamensis and Helianthocereus atacamensis) is a Chilean cactus species which grows as a tree-like, cylindrical columnar, reaching to a mature height of roughly seven metres. Fully-grown columns have a diameter of approximately seventy centimetres, and most commonly sprout few or no branches. Profuse spines are variable in colour and up to thirty centimetres in length! Flowering (rose-to-white) for a maximum of forty hours or so in the spring and summer, atacamensis forms hirsute, dark-green, edible fruit, which grows to five centimetres in length (roughly).

There’s also another recognised subspecies of this species; Trichocereus atacamensis subsp. pasacana (synonymous with Trichocereus pasacana, etc.). Besides the fact that subspecies atacamensis occurs in the Chilean Andes (in parts of Antofagasta and Tarapacá), and that pasacana is a bit more branching and grows on the Argentine side (and in Bolivia), the two are otherwise strikingly similar, with some researchers going so far as to consider the species as a whole to be a higher altitude variation on our old favourite, Trichocereus terscheckii.

Informally known as ‘Cardón’, ‘Cardón Grande’, ‘Cardón de la Puna’, ‘Cavul’, ‘Pasakana’, Trichocereus atacamensis (both subspecies) is traditionally used in the construction trade, to make furniture and rain sticks and as food.

This species naturally occurs at between one-thousand-seven-hundred and three-thousand-nine-hundred metres above sea level, where it prefers rocky, arid soils in which to grow. We plant ours in spacious containers, in a well-drained soil mix (roughly fifty-percent perlite or similar) and only water throughout late spring and the summer. Keep them somewhere with moderate shade when younger, moving to full sun once you feel they’re well-enough established and generally healthy.

Product Details

Product Type

Live plant


1 rooted plant


Size is added here when this item is in stock.

Common Name

Cardón Grande







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