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Trichocereus peruvianus identification from 27 years of growing experience
Myth #1
You can tell the variety of a Trichocereus by the ribs, notches, and spines.
Spine color (etc.) is not a reliable method. Below is a photo of three identical seedlings grown from T. peruvianus seed collected in the wild. Superficially they look alike. But examine the photo below closely. Uh, oh! Different spines, notches, areoles...what's going on?
"...(my book) should not be viewed as any sort of authoritative declaration concerning the taxonomy of the pachanoid-peruvianoid Trichocereus species...a overview of what readers may encounter in horticulture accompanied by some ...guideposts that MIGHT be of value to the reader who, like myself, is foolhardy enough to attempt navigating through this section of what often seems to resemble a taxonomic analog of the Sargasso Sea." [Trout, intro]
Identification by spines & notches can easily mislead you
Nevertheless many individuals cling to it, proclaiming over the Internet what a cactus is or is not. Instead of trying to inflate your ego by pretending to be an "expert" � why not stand back and marvel at the awesome diversity, complexity, and differences in nature? One thing science will teach you is that what seems simple in concept has infinite depth; the more you learn the more nature has to show you.

When I worked with young engineers at NASA AMES Research Center (troubleshooting flight simulator faults) I discovered that none of them was able to ever say "I don't know."  Their egos, invested in a university degree, would always make them come up with an explanation�no matter how lame.

Today, many years later, there is a similar phenomena with cactus lovers who insist on being experts. Individuals who parrot back what they read on a blog. Like the young engineers, they cannot say "I don't know."  It's ironic that the father of Trichocereus confusion, Trout, is up front about the futility of precise Trichocereus identification�yet his disciples act like cactus police insisting they know how to ID a Tricho based on spines & notches.
"Definitely a T. Cuzcoensis not a peruvianus..." The buyer of the cutting (shown below) insisted I sold him a cuzcoensis.
(below) This is a T. peruvianus I grew from seed imported from Peru. This is NOT CUZCOENSIS!
You think you can identify cuzcoensis because of white spines?

Many Trichcocereus varieties have white spines. Some spines start yellow or brown then turn white�like this one at left.

I've raised thousands of Peruvianus from seed imported from Peru. Their skin is a blue-gray where cuzcoensis have a markedly green skin.

My collection of Trichocereus is centered on the peruvianus. There are so many differences I don't try to name them. It is more a matter of knowing what a thing isn't than certainty about what it is.
William Blake
To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour.

A Robin Redbreast in a Cage
Puts all Heaven in a Rage.
A dove house fill�d with doves and pigeons
Shudders Hell thro� all its regions.
A Dog starv�d at his Master�s Gate
Predicts the ruin of the State.
Unedited remarks from an eBay cactus expert: "How about those Cuzcoenis you pass off as Peruvianus . Why are the spines so white ? . let me ask you this " Why dont you sell cuzcoensis by themselfs ; why do the have too be peruvianus ; Or A san pedro reletive . It should be your 'job" too label your plants according too habitat & how you simply regarded what knowledge the SFBG has on their plants simply tell me your no better than Walmart,..."

Why I have never (yet) sold cuzcoensis
They are my personal reference specimens; I don't want customers confusing them for T. Peruvianus.  Never did I dream that by not selling any cuzcoensis that this would cause an eBay stranger to accuse me of passing off cuzcoensis as peruvianus. What a bizzare idea! Look below at the photos of actual T. cuzcoensis.

When you work with these plants for decades you get to know them apart; similar to how a mother can tell identical twins apart. To me a cuzcoensis sticks out like the proverbial "sore thumb." I forget that others do not have that sensitivity to the nuances and subtle differences. Thus the person who challenged me with his ignorant remarks truly believes himself to be an expert. 

Those who have not paid their dues, who lack humility...those who think only they know everything...well...I just gotta go make more compost for potting soil, feed the sheep, care for my dogs. I have my life to live in joy & freedoom�free from the anger, jealousy, etc. of the little fish in this very big pond of consciousness.

Real Trichocereus cuzcoensis, Bob Ressler's pic + my reference specimen
(right) My personal referenence specimen of T. Cuzcoensis purchased from Ressler's collection after he divorced and moved to Arizona.

(below) Photo of Bob Ressler's reference specimen from his website. His collection was purchased by a local cactus seller from who I picked up some of Ressler's T. Peruvianus and other varieties.
(above) Bob Ressler photo at:

Trichocereus peruvianus, my Koehres 1784 specimen � Koehre seed catalog listing...

Trichocereus peruvianus from wild collected Peruvian seed

Easy for me to tell apart...after 27 years raising Trichocereus...but can you?
This is why I don't sell cuzcoensis (see photos below). I don't want people confusing them for the blue skin Peruvian columnar cacti I specialize in.
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I don't sell cuzcoensis because too many people are already too confused with what they think they know; but their knowledge is merely the misinformation of someone's blog posting...this situation has increased as the Internet has grown. All I can do is make a page such as this one to offer my experience. I hope this has been helpful to you.


PS Cuzcoensis are green sort of like San Pedro. Peruvianus are not green; look at the ones left & right of center. See?
Contact: Cactus_Kate@trichocereus.com
� 2003�2014 by CACTUS KATE� Sacred Trichocereus collection. All rights reserved for eternity in Heaven.