About animals

Oreocereus (Mountain Cereus)


Once, at the very dawn of my gathering, I saw a very curious, one might say, stopping the attention of a cactus. It looked like a ribbed dark green cucumber, and at the top of the "cucumber" gray hair-bristles stuck wildly and combed in all directions and through powerful reddish spikes emerged from them. The owner of the plant was very proud of him, he said that he had taken it out of Italy or somewhere else, and for a long time I remembered this cranky, wonderful Cactus, like an old Cossack. I have never met anyone else like that. Years passed, my collection grew, books appeared, and I finally recognized a prickly stranger.

It turned out to be a mountain cereus from northern Argentina - Oreocereus Neocelsianus (Oreocereus neocelsianus Backbg.).

Oreocereus was opened in the middle of the last century by Brides, and after this wonderful short-cactus cactus, which is no more than a meter tall, but forms a colony of stems at an older age, the discoveries of other no less remarkable densely pubescent or, conversely, bare and spiky oreocereuses, so their genus now numbers 6-7 species with several varieties. Trolls, maximus, hendriksenianus and fossulatus (O. trollii (Kupp.) Backbg., O. maximus, O. hendriksenianus Backbg., O. fossulatus (lab.) Backbg.

Following the oreocereuses, the newly discovered mountain ceres from Bolivia, Peru, Argentina, and in the twentieth century and still South America has become the main supplier of more and more genera and species of cacti, because the giant mountain system of the Andes and the interior of Brazil have not been examined in detail by anyone and this study is now being carried out systematically, many cactus companies and individual expeditions of enthusiasts. Finds follow every year, and catalogs of foreign companies are full of new, not yet described cacti under numbers, which introduces considerable confusion and confusion into cactus production.

The most beautiful mountain ceres, already belonging to other genera, cannot be described on several pages, for this a multi-volume edition would be needed. I can only list the main genera and bring to the end of the chapter the most beautiful species of South American cereus. These are the genus Espostoa and Pseudo-Esposta from Peru and Ecuador, beautiful powerful cacti wrapped in white pubescence through which red or yellow spikes peep. Espoosta form cephaly-thickening, where their flowers arise. These are the original austrocephalocereuses, also with white silver pubescence, numerous glue-cacti with light, grayish, yellow, yellow-green and simply variably prickly pubescence, these are the hageocereuses, growing and not only in the mountainous regions of Peru, and many others.

Types of mountain cereus are diverse in their whimsical and exacting nature, however, we can say that all these plants can be grown without vaccination (perhaps the exception is austrocephalocereus), and the recommendations of some authors, writing that, for example, oreocereuses should be grown almost in stone, in poor soil, etc., are completely wrong. All mountain cacti love nutritious soil - about a quarter of the leaf, a quarter of peat, a quarter of clay-turf and a quarter of sand with gravel and brick chips. Like all mountain equatorial species, they have one rather long growth period from March - April to November and rest from late November to mid-March, April. Wintering should not be too cold, and these cacti, unlike many North American ones, cannot stand frost. The author does not understand the requirements encountered in the literature to grow white-pubescent species under hoods of glass or film. The white pubescence of a cactus does not depend on the fact that it is closed, but on the correct content. Cacti become gray in a dirty, dry atmosphere, and in addition, this almost always means that their roots are affected. In clean air in a greenhouse, in the country, and generally where there is enough moisture, cacti remain white-pubescent. In summer, they like warmth, full sun and shade in the evening (short equatorial day) and therefore grow best on eastern and southern windows.

Seedlings require exactly the same treatment. In the nutrient land, they grow exceptionally powerful, and, for example, the Oreocereus neocelsianus or Espoosta reach fifteen centimeters by the age of two, with five centimeters across (at the Oreocereus). Such growth without vaccination is ensured by observing all the rules of the regime of care and feeding.


Genus OREOCEREUS Berg et Ricc, 1909 K

O. neocelsianus (Berg et Ricc) Backbg. II

O. hendriksenianus Backbg. II

O. maximus backbg '. II

O. trollii (Kupp) Back 1. II


A. dybowskii (Goss) Backbg. II

A. lehmannianus (Werd) Backbg. II

A. purpureus (Gtirke) Backbg. II

A. albicephalus Buin et Bred 1. II


Cl. strausii (Heese) Backbg '. III

Cl. baumannii (Lem) Lem. IV

Cl. smaragdiflorus (Web) Br. et R. '. III

Cl. wendlandiorum 1 backbg. III

Cl. variispinus ritt. III

Cl. azerensis Card. III Genus EULYCHNIA Phil

E. aricensis ritt. II

E. longispina ritt. II

E. saint-pieana Ritt. II

E. floresiana ritt. 1. II

Genus ESPOSTOA Br. et R. emend Werd, 1920

E. lanata (Hbk) Br. et R. II

E. ritteri Buin. 1. II

E. mirabilis ritt. II

E. procera Rauh et Backbg. II

Genus PSEUDOESPOSTOA Backbg., 1934

P. melanostele (Vpl) Backbg »II

P. nana (Ritt) Backbg '. II

Genus STETSONIA Br. et R.

S. coryne (SD) Br. et. R. '. II


W. winterianus ritt. III

W. longicomus ritt. III

Genus HAAGEOCEREUS Backbg., 1942

H. chosicensis (Werd et Backbg) Backbg. III

Types of "Oreocereus"

The soil
  • Light, nutritious, moisture-permeable soils are recommended. It is advisable to use special soil mixtures for cacti or succulents.
The size
  • from 30 to 100 cm
Flowering time
  • January to December
Possible colors
    • Many // Western, southern orientation, may require several hours of direct sunlight
    • Medium // Heavy watering 2-3 times a week
    Difficulty of care
    • Medium // Generally unpretentious, may present specific requirements for this type of
    Air humidity
    • Medium // Moderate humidity (at least 35%, normal street humidity in the shade)
    Fertilizer frequency
    • Medium // Fertilizer only during the period of active growth (minimum during the rest period)


    • 1. Description
    • 2. Growing
    • 3. Diseases and pests
    • 4. Reproduction
    • 5. First steps after purchase
    • 6. Secrets of success
    • 7. Possible difficulties

    A few, only about ten species, the genus Oreocereus belongs to the Cactus family. In nature, its representatives grow in the Andes, which was the reason to call the plant Mountain Cereus. Such living conditions made it unpretentious, and lovers of prickly handsome men drew attention to this fact. Grow the Oreocereus by the strength of even a beginner grower.

    In nature, individual representatives of this columnar, sometimes branched, cactus genus can grow up to eight to ten meters. In home collections, they are not so huge. The highest specimens reach a maximum of one and a half meters.

    Oreocereus differs from its brethren in the family by the presence of not only thorns, but also thin, usually white, less often black or brown, hairs. Cacti, braided by this peculiar web, have an attractive and very unusual look.

    In addition, plants are able to please with amazingly beautiful flowers of red, raspberry or pink shades. They are located closer to the top on a flower tube covered with scales. Oreocereus demonstrate the attractiveness of opened buds only in the daytime, allowing everyone to admire their exquisite appearance. However, in indoor conditions it is very difficult to achieve flowering. The plant forms the first buds in adulthood and at this point takes on considerable size. Not all flower growers decide to keep such a prickly giant in the house.

    In the culture, shaggy Oreocereus columns covered with yellow or reddish spikes are effectively in harmony with undersized or creeping succulents and are widely used to create compositions in rooms or offices

    1.1.Temperature conditions

    During the growth period, they are kept at a temperature of about 20 - 22 ° C. Even the most intense heat and frosts are tolerated to -5 ° C if they are contained in dry soil. In winter, a rest period at a temperature of about 10 ° C is necessary. A difference between daytime and nighttime temperatures is desirable.


    Volumetric containers are used to grow the Oreocereus, which are able to ensure the stability of fairly tall plants. Thorny pets are transplanted as they grow. At a young age, this procedure is carried out annually, adult cacti need it less often - once every two to three years.

    Fertilizers are not often applied, on average, once a month in the warm season. Use special preparations intended for cacti and succulents. When the temperature drops, there is no need for additional feeding.

    1.4.Substrate for cactus

    Soil should easily pass water and air, pH not higher than 6.5. A mixture of leaf humus, soddy ground with a lot of coarse river sand or perlite is suitable to improve drainage and small pieces of charcoal. You can use the finished substrate for cacti and succulents.

    First steps after purchase

    When purchasing Oreocereus, it is necessary to carefully examine the plant for signs of disease. The surface covered with hairs requires increased attention. Do not disregard the root zone, the most minor damage on it can tell about the disease of the plant. It is advisable to choose grafted plants, they grow faster and have a more chic pubescence and bright spines. Beginners must be quarantined for two or three weeks and only then take their place in the room collection.

    Secrets of Success

    Oreocereus needs good lighting. South windows for him will be the most comfortable. The temperature regime for the plant is necessary with significant differences in daily rates. At night, the room should be much cooler than during the day, when in summer temperatures up to + 35 ° C are permissible. In winter, the plant is also recommended to be placed in a room where the temperature will be around + 10 ° C.

    Watering cacti in summer requires moderate, in winter, when kept in cool, it can be stopped, in a warm room - minimized.

    Oreocereus is not demanding on humidity, but it will respond positively to small spraying in the morning or evening hours.

    1.8 soil moisture

    Water in spring and summer until the earthen coma is completely wet, be sure to remove excess water that has accumulated in the pan after watering. Between watering, the soil should be dried. In the autumn-winter period, water extremely carefully - only to avoid drying out of the earthen coma. It is advisable to use lower irrigation, as in this case, water does not fall on the stem of the plant.