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Echinopsis atacamensis (Cardon Grande)


Scientific Name

Echinopsis atacamensis (Phil.) Friedrich & G.D.Rowley

Common Names

Cardon, Cardon Grande, Cavul, Pasakana


Cereus atacamensis, Echinopsis atacamensis subsp. atacamensis, Helianthocereus atacamensis, Leucostele rivieri, Pilocereus pasacanus, Trichocereus atacamensis, Trichocereus eremophilus, Trichocereus pasacana

Scientific Classification

Family: Cactaceae
Subfamily: Cactoideae
Tribe: Trichocereeae
Genus: Echinopsis


Echinopsis atacamensis is a cactus that has a tall columnar habit, sometimes forming branches and becoming tree-like. The stems grow up to 33 feet (10 m) tall and up to 28 inches (70 cm) in diameter. They have 20 to 30 ribs and areoles with 50 to 100 maroon-colored spines. The spines can grow up to 12 inches (30 cm) long, but they are usually about 4 inches (10 cm) long. Flowers are rose-white, up to 6 inches (15 cm) long, and appear on the stems' sides. The dark green, edible fruits are densely covered with hairs and up to 2 inches (5 cm) long.

Echinopsis atacamensis (Cardon Grande)

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USDA hardiness zone 8a to 10b: from 10 °F (−12.2 °C) to 40 °F (+4.4 °C).

How to Grow and Care

If you can grow cacti and succulents successfully, you can likely grow the Echinopsis species without too much trouble. Like many cacti, they prefer a drying period between waterings, even to the point where they slightly wilt. When you water, however, you should water deeply. The plant will noticeably plump up. The cactus mustn't be exposed to prolonged dampness and sitting water. Never let your cactus sit in a dish of water. Lastly, make sure to fertilizer during the growing season for the best results.

Echinopsis can be easily rooted from offsets, which tend to cluster around the mother plant's base. Cut offsets close to the stem, at the narrowest possible place. When rooting cacti from cuttings, let the fresh cutting dry out slightly on a paper towel and cut the cacti at the narrowest place possible. After a few days to a few weeks, depending on the cut surface's size, the cut surface should have dried out and formed a callous or slightly rough opening. Once the callous has formed, place the cutting in a rooting mixture of fast-draining cacti soil. See more at How to Grow and Care for Echinopsis.


Echinopsis atacamensis is native to Chile, Argentina, and Bolivia.



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