15 March 2013

Cereus peruvianus

As regulars readers to this blog will know, I had taken photographs of various cactus plants and tried to identify them simply by looking at various images on the internet, not the best way I must admit.  I then came across two websites namely The British Cactus & Succulent Society http://www.bcss.org.uk/index.php and Cacti Guide http://www.cactiguide.com/cactitalk/ with their help I now have a correct identification. 
According to information received from these websites, the above photographs are of a cactus called Cereus peruvianus.  I am very happy to finally have them correctly identified. 

I also came across an interesting article entitled Cereus Peruvianus - The Least and Best Known Cactus by Daiv Freeman  http://www.cactiguide.com/article/?article=article3.php  In this article the author explains that "cereus is one of the least understood genera of the entire Cactus Family. It is also one of the oldest names in the family, described by Philip Miller in 17541 it dates back to 1625. From the beginning up until the 1920's, nearly every columnar cactus was given the name cereus. Today there are 34 species that are officially accepted to belong to the genus Cereus, but there are over 500 species or synonyms that were once classified under Cereus that are now either no longer accepted or have been reclassified as a separate genus. 

The name Cereus peruvianus has been applied to both C. hildmannianus and C. repandus which are both recognized as legitimate species today. The trouble is, neither of them resemble the many plants that we see labelled as Cereus peruvianus.

Note: 1. Edward F. Anderson The Cactus Family, Timber Press, page 142."

My thanks to Daiv Freeman whose permission I obtained prior to quoting extracts from his article in my blog.

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