Scientific name: Eulychnia castanea (K.Schum.)
forma varispiralis (mostruosa)
Garden origin (Nursery
Conservation status: Listed in
CITES appendix 2.
- Eulychnia mostruosa v. spiraliforme
- Eulychnia aurata f. monstrosa cristata
- Eulychnia spiralis
- Eulychnia varispiralis
Description: This odd plant
is known in cultivation under quite a lot of different names (among
them, "spiralis", "varispiralis", "spiraliforme",
"monstrous" ) It is a variable cultivar of which we
can distinguish at least four basic growing forms:
Columnar monstrous form: Characterized
by a lumpy-bumpy monstrous surface, this is the more common form,
about 60-75% of the new branch shows this monstrous morphology.
- Columnar discoidal form: Characterized
by green discs placed one on top of
another in a heap. Only 20-30% of branches develop the typical discs.
- Columnar spiral form: Characterized by
curly, whirly spiral growth that can be equally dextrorotatory or
levorotatory, this form is very appreciated by collectors but
comparatively rare (about 5-15% of shots shows this admirable feature)
- Crested form: Characterized by
fan-like sculptural shapes comprising mix of the previously types,
this form is very rare and prized.
NOTE: All this form are
only growing variant of the same clone, each new branch must show one
(or a mix) of the four growing mode and each plant is unique and
Propagation: This plant is frequently grafted onto a
geometrizans trunk, but it is easily grown on its own
roots. It can be increased by cuttings, which will take root in a
minimum temperature of 20° C. Cuttings of healthy shoots can be taken in
the spring and summer, Cut the stem with a sharp, sterile knife, leave
the cutting in a warm, dry place for a week or weeks (depending on how
thick the cutting is) until a callus forms over the wound. Once the
callus forms, the cutting may be inserted in a container filled with
firmed cactus potting mix topped with a surface layer of coarse grit.
They should be placed in the coarse grit only; this prevents the cut end
from becoming too wet and allows the roots to penetrate the rich compost
underneath. The cuttings should root in 2 to 6 weeks.
Cultivation: This species presents no problems
in cultivation and will do well in a sunny spot in a cactus house. These
plants will tolerate sun and heat, but not extended periods of frost.
The crested form is more frost sensitive and should not be kept at less
than -0°C . Grow them in rich, porous, sandy soil, and let their soil
dry out between waterings. If potted, repot in the spring, if their
roots become cramped. Generally, they should be repotted every other
year in order to provide fresh soil. However, this doesn't necessarily
mean they'll need larger containers. Fill about a quarter of the pot
with broken crocks, gravel, etc. to promote good drainage. After
repotting, do not water for a week or more. The crested plants enjoy a
warm sunny environment and for more speedy growth a light position on a
higher shelf with light feeding and rainwater given to the bottom of the
plant will ensure success, especially with rooted detached branches,
which do well in these conditions.