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A brown haired specimen at Rebutialand cactus collection Demjén, Hungary.
Origin and Habitat: Oreocereus celsianus is widely spread at high altitudes in Argentina (prov. Jujuy), Bolivia (dpt. Chuquisaca, Potosí, Tarija) and Peru. The brown black haired form is of unknown origin and very rare.
Oreocereus celsianus (Salm-Dyck) A.Berger ex Riccobono
Boll. Reale Orto Bot. Palermo 8: 259. 1909
- Oreocereus celsianus (Salm-Dyck) A.Berger ex Riccobono
- Borzicactus celsianus (Lem. ex Salm-Dyck) Kimnach
- Cereus celsianus (Salm-Dyck) A.Berger
- Cereus celsianus (Salm-Dyck) Orcutt
- Cleistocactus celsianus (Salm-Dyck) F.A.C.Weber
- Pilocereus celsianus Salm-Dyck
- Oreocereus celsianus var. bruennowii (Haage ex Rümpler) Britton & Rose
- Oreocereus celsianus var. foveolatus (Labour. ex Lem.) Borg
- Pilocereus celsianus var. foveolatus (Labour. ex Lem.) Schelle
- Pilocereus foveolatus Labour. ex Lem.
- Oreocereus celsianus var. lanuginosior (Salm-Dyck ex K.Schum.) Riccobono
- Oreocereus fossulatus var. lanuginosior (Salm-Dyck ex K.Schum.) W.T.Marshall
- Pilocereus celsianus var. lanuginosior Salm-Dyck ex K.Schum.
- Oreocereus fossulatus (Labour.) Backeb.
- Borzicactus fossulatus (Labour.) Kimnach
- Cereus fossulatus (Labour.) Backeb.
- Pilocereus fossulatus Labour.
- Oreocereus fossulatus var. rubrispinus F.Ritter
- Cleistocactus fossulatus var. rubrispinus (F.Ritter) Mottram
- Oreocereus maximus Backeb.
- Oreocereus neocelsianus Backeb.
- Oreocereus neocelsianus var. ruficeps Y.Itô
- Oreocereus neocelsianus var. villosissimus Y.Itô
- Oreocereus urmiriensis Slaba
Description: Oreocereus celsianus (a.k.a the old man of the Andes) is a columnar, cactus growing in clumps that, in the wild, may reach and exceed 3 m of height. The cultivar 'Brown-black Hairs' is distinguished from the type species for its dense brown, or black hairs (not white), all the other characteristics are identical, namely size and form of branches and spines, size and colour of flowers, size of fruit etc.
It is difficult to see the shape of the ribbed stem, as it is thickly clothed with dark silky hairs.
Subspecies, varieties, forms and cultivars of plants belonging to the Oreocereus celsianus group
- Oreocereus celsianus (Salm-Dyck) A.Berger ex Riccobono: is a columnar cactus growing in clumps up to 3 m tall, stems thickly clothed with silky white hairs and yellowish to reddish brown spines. Distribution: Argentina, Bolivia and Peru.
- Oreocereus celsianus cv. Brown-black Hairs: has dense brown, or black hairs (not white).
Cultivation and Propagation: Oreocereus celsianus is a a much decorative frost hardy cactus easily found in cultivation.
Soil: Grow it in a rich and particularly draining substratum, as it is very sensitive to rottenness when in presence of humidity and low temperatures and let the soil dry out between waterings.
Water: In summer, during the vegetative period, it must be regularly watered, but allowing the substratum to completely dry up before irrigating again; in winter, it’s to be kept dry. Preferable not to water on overcast days, humid days or cold winter days.
Hardiness: This is the hardiest of the woolly columnar 'old man' cacti from the highland of Bolivia, Peru & northern Argentina that grow at an altitude of up to 4000 meters. It is a very frost resistant cactus, hardy to -7°/-12° C (- 20° C if very dry). However in cultivation it is better not to expose it to temperatures lower than -5° C, even if in an aerated and protected location, in order to avoid the formation of anti-aesthetic spots on the epidermis. In presence of high atmospheric humidity avoid any frost as it is particularly sensitive to root rot.
Exposure: It need full sun exposures with ample airflow to produce dense hairs, but, as a former mountain dweller, does not care for extremely high temperatures in summer.
Maintenance: Repot in the spring, when their roots become cramped. Generally, they should be repotted every other year in order to provide fresh soil. After repotting, do not water for a week or more.
Use: Excellent as landscape or patio plant. It is suitable for small “desert” gardens, in association with other xerophytes. Where the open air cultivation is not possible due to the climate, it is to be cultivated in pot in order to shelter it in winter.
Propagation: By seeds and by cuttings, provided left drying up well, in summer.
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