Lost DNA or just a mutt?
Fairy tales can make people believe
all sorts of odd things; even swear they are true. The "short
spined KK242" and "lost DNA" hype about a common hybrid is a
Fastest growing Peruvianus
I can't identify the exact variety
but it grows insanely fast. A cutting that I rooted in May, 2007
exploded into this 5 foot monster by July, 2008. In one year it
went from cutting to a 10 gallon pot, and now needs a 20 gallon
Confusion is spreading about
identification of the classic
Hopefully this documentation will
shed light on the problem.
Botanical references document what the official "Peruvianus"
was years ago. Here is a high resolution (400K image) of what
the old guys were talking about back in 1920.
Varieties identified in Peru
Collectors identify the varieties of plants they locate by a
site number. This is then defined in a guide as to the elevation
and geographical location. In Peru a supplier of seed for many
types of plants is Karel Knize. His service is a problem as has
been his mislabeling of specimens. With that in mind here is are
some photos of various Peruvian wild grown Trichocereus.
More: Problems with KK seed...
Peruvian cactus are not necessarily The Peruvianus
My collection has about 8 peruvian types. Here are photos of 7
of them. Whatever a "true Peruvianus" is, or was, may be lost to
history. But one can make some sense of these—the San Pedro and
the Bridgesii are easily identified and reliable in their
The real interest I have is in the specimens that grow fat, with
long spines and blue skin. I hope to one day have a row of these
the size of trees!
||The 8th specimen rescued from
Cactus Kate's nursery
This is my best guess of what the old farts from 1920 saw in a
garden show and described as the Trichocereus Peruvianus.
It is the only specimen that I did not purchase or grow from
seed. Instead it was rescued from the knee high grass of a
defunct nursery after the owner died.
||A specimen is from the Stockton, California
This is where Bob Ressler lived before he moved to Arizona.
is one of the true Peruvianus varieties he identified on his site,
||Ressler's images are used on websites all
over the Internet as the standard for San Pedro and Peruvian
Torch. (I've seen his flowering San Pedro picture used by several seed
sellers, for example.)
||"Trichocereus Peruvianus Rimac" refers to the
in Peru. It forms a valley where many cactus of various
collected. The Peruvianus Rimac is my
personal favorite for its beautiful blue color combined with a
growth rate like it is on steroids.
||Want to be really
Who is Trout? Does he or she hide their real name for fear of being
raided for drugs? I think so. The author is hiding his or her
identity as, too, are the photo contributors with names like
"Oz." These are all phantom people hiding behind
made up names.
The text is reminiscent of a pretentious college term paper
thrown together the night before it was due. No one edited the
text, and this is a book that screams for editing. Equally bad are the pictures—a dizzying "kitchen sink" of unedited B&W snaps of
flower pot cacti from mysterious sources. Why mysterious?
One can imagine that the drug cult owners, like "Oz", eat them as fast as
Trout's confusion is typical of armchair expert's
relying on second hand information. There is no actual field
research here, no trip to Peru or the official collection sites
for Trichocereus. The ambiguity derives from
old farts (Briton & Rose) who described cacti seen 70 years
garden shows. Britton died during the Great Depression and his
buddy Rose in 1928. Who knows what they saw?
Fast forward to the present and you have Trout's
favorite Peruvian cacti guru Karel Knize who pillages the hillsides of
the Andes to export cacti seeds and cuttings to those who can
pay the hefty import costs. This is long distance research by
proxy, then documenting the sloppy identifications made by that
proxy. Sort of like hiring a freshman with bad grades in another
country to do your research—then criticizing the trustworthiness
of the data collected.
Fishman Trout accuses
Knize of mislabeling
cuttings, photos, etc. I understand, because I've accused Knize of stealing
money sent for seed, only receiving it after numerous
letters asking when he'd mail my seed. In 2006 and 2007 Knize sent
non-viable seed with lousy to zero germination.
So forget about Knize,
forget about over glorified "experts" from 70 years
ago, and forget about pompous "expert" fish who admits
to being confused, very confused. Let's move on!
||One of the big European seed sellers offers a
San Pedro X Peruvianus hybrid. Crossing these two Trichocereus
produces an interesting mix of vigorous growth with shorte spines.
is my comparison photo.