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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 has a tall columnar habit, sometimes forming branches and becoming treelike. It grows up to 33 feet (10 m) high, with stems up to 28 inches (70 cm) in diameter. The stems have 20-30 ribs and areoles with 50-100 maroon colored spines, the longest up to 12 inches (30 cm) long. The rose-white flowers are up to 6 inches (15 cm) long, borne on the sides of the stems. The dark green, edible fruits are densely covered with hairs, up to 2 inches (5 cm) long.

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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. It's imperative that the cactus is not 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 base of the mother plant. 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 size of the cut surface, 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.

Subspecies, Varieties, Forms, Cultivars and Hybrids


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