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Peruvian Clones (PC) & Perfect Clones of San Pedro cactus
Real San Pedro | Trout San Pedro photo | Trout Book Review | Cuzcoensis | Trout photo confusion 1 |  2
The highly sought after Peruvian Clone (PC) or Perfect Clone [see 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 confusion among 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.

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(left) 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 blogs

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 collections.

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 collection. 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 subtle differences.

(map at right) I've only grown San Pedro in the northern California green areas 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 (shaman).

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 cactus, real trichocereus pachanoi 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 pachanoia.


(left)
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 hand.
"What I got? Pachanoi? Pachanot? Pacha-nonsense?  Or am I suffering Pachanoia?
Pachanoia; the story of pachanonsense 
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 misinformation.

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 "PC" nonsense with his essay. Check this out...

Let's cook up some Trout!
'Pachanot' theory...is in no way...accepted by any botanists...
Game over: Trout was angry with my thumbs down review of his book "San Pedro" Brett Lothian 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 myself. Re: Ressler's Trichocereus collection photos.

san pedro cactus, real trichocereus pachanoi 
Hey! We were pachanoi for decades before the Internet...then we were pachanot...but now we pacha-OK once again...
 san pedro cactus, real trichocereus pachanoi
Pacha-yes-it-is!
I found the blog "Posted by Brett Lothian" which dispels all this "pachanot & PC" nonsense Trout created.
Lothian's well written essay, Trichocereus Pachanoi 'Predominant Cultivar', 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 because that term applies to commercial plant commodities such as grapes, tea, cotton, etc.; not cacti. 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 characteristics desired; but Trout uses PC as a derogatory term that would imply tea that isn't tea, or cotton that isn't cotton. But San Pedro today is the same as it has always been—what the stone carved shaman was holding 2,500 years ago.

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 plays wearing 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 view Trout's anger in that sort of context.

Because of this, you can appreciate why I'm thankful for the calm, intelligent, and well written
essay by Brett Lothian. Good work Brett.

UPDATE 2014 —
No such 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 "pachanots."

Over the 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 pachanots).

But recently a calm, intelligent individual refuted his absurd pachanot campaign. Read this excellent essay that says it all: Trichocereus Pachanoi 'Predominant Cultivar'
san pedro cactus, real trichocereus pachanoi
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... More...


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