Peruvian Clones (PC) & Perfect Clones of San Pedro cactus |
The highly sought after Peruvian
Clone (PC) or Perfect Clone
photo page] cacti are sometimes called
Backberg clones (BC) honoring the *memory* of
Dr. Backberg's discovery—but he never actually owned or
propagated the Peruvian Clone (PC). That is an Internet myth
started by an Australian Internet pseudo-shaman. Brett
Lothian disproved it in his
essay with photos.
||(left) A non-PC cactus that is a source of
Internet cactus bloggers is the Bolivian Cuzcoensis.
Many live in fear that their cactus may be one. They
post photos for other keyboard jockeys to comment
upon. "Looks kind of Cuzcoensis to me..." is
a typical comment.
The real Peruvian Clone (PC) is
held here by the stone carving of a 2,500 year old
guy called "Snakes in his hair". Dr.
Backberg proved this is the Peruvian Clone (PC) now
widely distributed in North America.
Sheep flock to Internet
All my life I used the expression "people are
like sheep" but never appreciated what that meant until I had my
own flock of sheep. Now I totally know why they say
"people are like sheep." They
follow each other in a blind manner. If one sheep is
scared they all freak out. When one goes
"Bah", they all start to go "Bah! Bah!" Don't get me wrong, I like my sheep.
Trichocereus are rare in the USA because they cannot
grow out side where winter freezes will kill them.
This is why so many of you rely on those who grow
these plants—why you consult blogs and websites for
identification of specimens for your indoor grown
I focus on
basically 3 types of Trichocereus: the peruvianus,
the pachanoi, and the bridgesii. The variations in
each of these main types are subtle to a newcomer but
become more remarkable with years of familiarity.
What is not helpful is to act like an expert, in an
area like the Trichocereus tribe, when your information is
handed to you by someone making blog posts.
Remember what I said about sheep?
It takes years of raising these
plants to see what they really become; like a child
becoming an adult. They are magnificent to own and
care for. The point is to enjoy them, and
to appreciate nature herself. If you focus on that
aspect you will always be happy with your
Don't listen to what those sheep say.
|No offense, but I
had no idea what a "dumb animal" was until I
starting raising sheep. They follow each
other instead of thinking.
Peruvian columnar cacti are rare in North America
because they need the warm, wet, equatorial mountain
climate of Peru to thrive. For thousands of years
each variety remained isolated in countless valleys
of the Peruvian Andes. Genetic variations, growing
conditions, etc. have created
(map at right) I've only grown San Pedro in the
on this map. The adjacent Zone 9A is not shown, and
it is risky due to freezing. Cactus Kate's nursery was
on the coast in the San Francisco Bay Area. Now I
grow in the California Central Valley. Once in a
while winter cold snaps will frost bite the tips of
my plants with temps down in the low 20s. Most of my customers
outside of California have to grow indoors —in
sunrooms or hobby greenhouses.
|A mythological history of
Knize, Backberg, and Trout
Origins of the
famous Peruvian Clone (PC) San Pedro
Ancient stone carvings of Huachuma's choice cactus were analyzed by archeologist Dr.
Backberg who hypothesized that San Pedro cactus had
been cloned for several thousand years by Chavin
Indians. This is how they created the perfect clone,
AKA the Peruvian clone (PC) of San Pedro
cactus so widely distributed today. DNA testing had
not yet been developed (during his lifetime) to
prove Backberg's claim.
Karel Knize's illegitimate son Trout
Decades after Dr. Backberg died the
illegitimate son of Karel Knize, an ambitious lad named
Trout (Knize), ran DNA tests on remains Dr. Backberg had
recovered from a Pre-Columbian burial tomb — proving that
San Pedro (PC) had been cloned by the Chavin Indians: that
the San Pedro Cactus of today is genetically identical. This
was one of the first verified instances of plant selection
and perfection by cloning. Trout published Dr. Backberg's
research under his own name — an academic fraud that caused
his expulsion from Cambridge University Trout fled to Australia to become a witch doctor
When Trout returned to the USA he was arrested on a
smuggling charge (3- kilos of Huachuma powder).
After a short prison sentence he published his book The
Pachanot to help his father's failing
business (selling cactus cuttings and seeds from his
Peruvian home). But that effort failed when word quickly
spread —that Knize sold bogus seed and often kept
customer's money without shipping anything. Thus the
Peruvian clones (PC) available in the USA have become
increasingly popular. Whether you call it the "perfect
cactus" or the Peruvian clone (PC) everyone just calls it
San Pedro cactus.
There was nothing Trout could do to save his father's
cactus export business. Too many people on the Internet
began warning others that Knize was a scam. Even I was stung
with his seed that would not germinate. Even the German
supplier bought wholesale from Knize and re-sold his
worthless macrogonis (zero germination). One
man claims he lost $20,000 when Karel Knize did not ship his
order. It was rumored that
Knize died and someone kept collecting mail order money
without ever shipping any specimens.
Trout is rumored to have ended up in Australia where he
changed his name to Trucha (mother's maiden name) but calls
himself Shaman's Apprentice.
||San Pedro was San
Pedro back then, and it is still San Pedro today.
There is no "PC"
— Trout started a pachanonsense with his pachanot war of
What is Trout so confused
about? This is San Pedro. Has been for thousands of years.
Just look at what the stone carving guy is holding in his
|"What I got? Pachanoi?
Pachanot? Pacha-nonsense? Or am I
Pachanoia; the story of
|See the 2,500 year old Chavin
Indian stone carving? That is what
San Pedro Cactus was (Trichocereus
pachanoi) before the Internet. Yes,
for thousands of years it was OK
until the Internet became a huge
ocean of people meeting in blogs to
express their information and
After a decade
of that no one knew any longer what
San Pedro was. The misinformation
was regurgitated by newcomers to the
new newcomers until none of
them knew what
was real. Recently I found one blog
in which an intelligent, thoughtful
individual blast through all the
nonsense with his essay.
Check this out...
|Let's cook up
in no way...accepted by any
Game over: Trout
was angry with my thumbs down
review of his book
writes: "The 'Pachanot'
theory...has in no way
been...accepted by any actual
botanists...the plant looks exactly
the same as...FR 567 from the Chan
Chan Valley Ecuador...pictured on
Bob Ressler's Columnar-Cacti website
...I have no problem what so ever
calling it a Pachanoi."
Speaking of Ressler, a local nursery
purchased his collection from his
ex-wife. I obtained some of
his reference specimens for
Trichocereus collection photos.
|Hey! We were pachanoi
for decades before the Internet...then we
were pachanot...but now we pacha-OK once
|I found the blog "Posted by
which dispels all this
PC" nonsense Trout created.
Lothian's well written essay,
Trichocereus Pachanoi 'Predominant
notes that the conjectures of the
guy calling himself "Trout" are unverified—not shared by
any real botanists. I'd like to add
my comment that Trout is anonymous
deliberately to hide his identity as
an advocate of illegal drug use. His
mythology about "pachanots" is not a
scientific theory— it is not even a
valid hypothesis— and definitely not
shared by peer reviewed science.
What is it then? It's a
manifestation of his anger reacting to
the thumbs down review I wrote about his book
"San Pedro". His ego
never recovered as indicated by his
decade long efforts to discredit my San
Pedro as NOT being real San Pedro...and
that only the Australian native
Trout can identify photos of San
Pedro from South American.
Referring to cactus "predominant
cultivars" is ridiculous
term applies to commercial plant
commodities such as grapes, tea, cotton,
The predominant cultivar of tea
really is tea, the predominant
cultivars of grapes make excellent wine,
etc. In other words
PC refers to plants having the
but Trout uses PC as a derogatory
term that would imply tea that isn't
tea, or cotton that isn't cotton.
Pedro today is the same as it has
always been—what the stone
carved shaman was holding 2,500
Trout's temper tantrum over my review made Internet
bloggers victims of his deliberately
malicious misinformation. The
situation reminds me of my friend Tom who
wrote theatre reviews; he was banned
from many theatres and had to attend
disguises. One venue burned him
in effigy as reporters took pictures.
Tom told me that it was his job to
"expose charlatans and bimbos"—he
once wrote that the only reason a
certain woman was cast in a play was
because she was sleeping with the
director! He wasn't sued for libel
because it was true. The magazine's food critic
was attacked by an angry chef who stormed into their office screaming
about a negative restaurant review; I
Trout's anger in that sort of
Because of this, you can
I'm thankful for the calm,
intelligent, and well written
essay by Brett Lothian.
Good work Brett.
UPDATE 2014 —
thing as the "PC" or "pachanot"
Back in 2005 San Pedro
book writer "Trout" was outraged by
my thumbs down review. To get revenge he created webpages insisting
that the San Pedro I grow and sell, the same ones pictured on
his book cover, are NOT real San Pedro—they must be
years his anti-San Pedro propaganda spread confusion
as various blogs visited by new comers spread his
malicious misinformation. Trout & friends
tried to convince people that the San Pedro pictured
in his book are the really the wrong ones (not pachanoi,
But recently a calm, intelligent individual refuted his
absurd pachanot campaign. Read this
excellent essay that says it all:
Trichocereus Pachanoi 'Predominant Cultivar'
The only color photo in the book—on the cover—is
a true San Pedro! All you have to do is take
cuttings (clone) of that plant and you will have an
endless supply of identical, and genuine, San Pedro.
Skip the boring nonsense inside the covers.
|Trout fully cooked! —
his assertions about "pachanots" and "Backberg clones"
were false. They are the real San Pedro after all...
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