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Origin and Habitat: This species has a wide extent of occurrence near the equator in Peru (may be the most widespread of Espostoas), where it is found in southern Lambayeque, La Libertad, Lima, Áncash, and northern Ica.
Altitude: It grows at altitudes between (600-)800 and 1500(2500) metres above sea level.
Habitat and Ecology: This cactus can be found in lowland on the western slopes of the Andean Cordillera, in thorny dry matorral nearby to Browningia candelaris, Armatocereus matucanensis and Haageocereus sp. It is common in large parts of its range and is currently not exposed to any threat.
- Espostoa melanostele (Vaupel) Borg
Espostoa melanostele (Vaupel) Borg
Cacti (Borg) 112 (1937); vide Gray Herb. Card Cat.
- Espostoa melanostele (Vaupel) Borg
- Binghamia melanostele (Vaupel) Britton & Rose
- Cephalocereus melanostele Vaupel
- Cereus melanostele (Vaupel) A.Berger
- Haageocereus melanostele (Vaupel) W.T.Marshall
- Pseudoespostoa melanostele (Vaupel) Backeb.
- Espostoa haagei (Poselg. ex Rümpler) Borg
- Cereus haagei (Poselg. ex Rümpler) Backeb.
- Pilocereus haagei Poselg. ex Rümpler
- Pilocereus lanatus var. haagei (Poselg. ex Rümpler) Jostmann
- Espostoa melanostele f. inermis (Backeb.) Krainz
Espostoa melanostele subs. nana (F.Ritter) G.J.Charles
Cactaceae Consensus Init. 14: 15. 2002 [Oct 2002]
- Espostoa melanostele subs. nana (F.Ritter) G.J.Charles
RUSSIAN (Русский): Эспостоя черноколонновидная
Description: Espostoa melanostele is an attractive tall, greyish-green columnar cactus with much apical spination and pubescence, the hoary hairiness providing them a sturdy and more or less clean-cut appearance. It is similar to Espostoa lanata, but has rows of yellow needle-like spines; densely covered with white hair, the density increasing with age. Two subspecies are recognized, the nominate form and subsp. nana (F.Ritter) G.J.Charles. There is possibly a third undescribed subspecies. There is also a beautiful cristate form of the species, with dense white wool.
Habit: Shrub-like reaching 3 m in height (but usually less than 2 metres) branching from the base when fairly tall (at least 70-90 cm cm tall).
Stems: to 10 cm in diameter.
Ribs: About 18-25.
Areoles: Very numerous fairly close-set, the non-flowering with dense white or brownish hairs to 10 mm long clothing the whole stem.
Spines: Numerous at first yellow, later blackish.
Central spines: 1-3 the longest to 4-10 cm long.
Radial spines: 40-50 needle-like, spreading, shorter 5-10 mm long.
Cephalium: Lateral, whitish. yellow or brown, 50-70 cm long,
covering to 8 ribs.
Flowers: Bell shaped, 5-6 cm long and 5 cm across, scales of the pericarpel tiny, those of the tube larger hairy in the axils. Perianth white.
Fruits: Tiny-hardly bigger than a grape (less than 5 cm across) greenish-white, yellowish-white to reddish. The fruits are piquant, but tasty and edible.
Seeds: Circular, medium-sized, 1,1 x 1,0 mm, glossy, black-brown, periphery keeled; border expanded around hilum.
Subspecies, varieties, forms and cultivars of plants belonging to the Espostoa melanostele group
Bibliography: Major references and further lectures
1) Edward Anderson “The Cactus family” Timber Press, Incorporated, 2001
2) James Cullen, Sabina G. Knees, H. Suzanne Cubey "The European Garden Flora Flowering Plants: A Manual for the Identification of Plants Cultivated in Europe, Both Out-of-Doors and Under Glass" Cambridge University Press, 11/Aug/2011
3) David R Hunt; Nigel P Taylor; Graham Charles; International Cactaceae Systematics Group. "The New Cactus Lexicon" dh books, 2006
5) Curt Backeberg “Die Cactaceae: Handbuch der Kakteenkunde” Gustav Fischer Verlag, Stuttgart New York 1982–1985
6) Hecht, “BLV Handbuch der Kakteen” BLV Verlagsgesellschaft mbH, München ISBN: 3-405-12202-3
7) Erik Haustein “Der Kosmos-Kakteenführer” Balogh Scientific Books 1998
8) Cáceres, F., Ostalaza, C. & Roque, J. 2013. Espostoa melanostele. In: IUCN 2013. "IUCN Red List of Threatened Species." Version 2013.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 07 December 2013.
9) David Yetman “The Great Cacti: Ethnobotany & Biogeography” University of Arizona Press, 2007
10) Arthur C. Gibson “The Cactus Primer” Harvard University Press, 1990
11) Gurcharan Singh Randhawa, Amitabha Mukhopadhyay “Floriculture in India” Allied Publishers, 01/gen/1986
12) Wilhelm Barthlott, David R. Hunt “Seed-diversity in the Cactaceae: subfamily Cactoideae” D. Hunt, 2000
13) Clive Innes, Charles Glass “Cacti” Portland House, 1991
14) Antonio Gómez Sánchez: “Enciclopedia ilustrada de los cactus y otras suculentas: (descripción de las especies, habitat y cuidados de cultivo)”. Floramedia Espana S.A., Valencia 2006
Cultivation and Propagation: Espostoa melanostele is a summer-growing and easy cactus to grow. It makes great potted specimens.
Growth rate: Espostoa produces noticeable amounts of growth each year if kept well fed and watered throughout the warmest months, particularly if it has been acclimatised to accept full sun. Once this cactus is established it can easily produce 20 cm of growth every year. Most plants will offset readily, and clumps can be produced in a few years. It will fill a large pot in time however, so space is needed if it is to show of its best.
Soils: It likes very porous standard cactus mix soil with little organic matter (peat, humus).
Repotting: Repotting every 2-3 years. Needs lots and lots of space to grow, use large container filled with very porous compost. Use pot with good drainage.
Watering: Water the plants well and allow them to dry before watering again. This species seems to do better with a little more water than most cacti.
Fertilization: During the growing season fertilize them monthly with a balanced fertilizer.
Sun Exposure: Outside full sun, inside needs bright light, and some direct sun. During winter month, put them in a cool luminous place and encourage them to enter winter dormancy by withholding water and fertiliser over the winter as they will etiolate, or become thin, due to lower levels of light.
Hardiness: It is easy to grow and cold hardy as low as -12°C (or less).
Pest & diseases: They are susceptible to fungal diseases if overwatered, but are not nearly as sensitive as many other cacti, especially in warm weather. If kept damp through cold periods, they will invariably suffer.
Propagation: Cutting or from seed. The seeds are quite easy to germinate and grow. Their main requirements consist of high humidity levels, free-draining soil mix, and enough water, light, and nutrition.
Uses: Woolly hairs of the cephalia have been used for pillow filling in Peru.
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