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  Polaskia chichipe CACTUS ART

Cultivation and Mail Sale
of Cacti and Succulents.

Polaskia chichipe forma cristata
This is a very attractive crest with powdery grey stems.

Description: The standard Polaskia chichipe is a columnar tree-like cactus with many curved branches, up to 5 m tall. The beautiful crested form is very rare in collection and highly priced for its sculptural shape and powdery grey-blue epidermis. Older crested plant can reach a considerable size (up to 2 m tall and in diameter, or more )
Stems: Powdery grey and green with  wavy ribs;
Areoles:  1 to 1.5 cm apart;
Spines: Greyish up to 5cm but usually shorter; 1 central spine; 6-8 radials.
Flowers: Small yellowish-green. Anthesis diurnal as well as partly nocturnal.
Fruit:  2-3 cm edible.

Economical uses: Polaskia chichipe is cultivated in central Mexico for its edible red fruits (chichituna) and branches used as fuel wood. Cultivated plants have larger and sweeter fruits, a longer period of fruit production, and are self-compatible.

This is undoubtedly one of the nicest crest cacti.


Cultivation: Polaskia grow slowly and are cold intolerant, make sure that they are not exposed to freezing temperatures or they may die. During the summer it is best to keep the plants outside where the temperature can rise to over 30 C with no harm to the plant. Furnish good drainage and use a an open and free draining mineral compost that allows therefore roots to breath. They like only a short winter's rest and should be kept almost completely dry during the winter months, If the soil is allowed to be dry for too long root loss could follow but equally the same result would occur if the plants are both wet and cold. From March onwards the plant will begin to grow and watering should be increased gradually until late May when the plant should be in full growth.
Water regularly during the summer so long as the plant pot is allowed to drain and not sit in a tray of water. During hot weather you may need to water the plants more frequently so long as the plant is actively growing. From late September watering should be reduced to force the plant to go in to a state of semi dormancy, by October you should be back in to the winter watering regime.
Need full sun avoiding only the harshest summer sun, if kept too dark they may become overly lush and greener and could be prone to rotting due to over watering.
Feeding may not be necessary at all if the compost is fresh then, feed in summer only if the plant hasn't been repotted recently. Do not feed the plants from September onwards as this can cause lush growth which can be fatal during the darker cold months.

Propagation: by vegetative propagation grafting or stem cuttings.


Photo gallery: Alphabetical listing of Cactus and Succulent pictures published in this site.

Photo gallery POLASKIA



Family: Cactaceae (Cactus Family)

Scientific name:  Polaskia chichipe (Roland-Gosselin) Backeberg 1949

Origin:  From warmer areas of central Mexico (Puebla: Tehuacan, reaches into the state of Oaxaca)

Habitat: This plant occurs in the wild in thorn-scrub forests.

Common NameChichipe, Chichibe, Chichituna

Taxon synonyms

  • Cereus chichipe Rol.-Goss. Place of publication: Bull. Mus. Hist. Nat. (Paris) 11(6):507. (Basionym)

  • Lemaireocereus chichipe (Roland-Gosselin) Britton et Rose 1920

  • Myrillocactus chichipe (Roland-Gosselin) P. V. Heath 1992

  • Cereus mixtecensis

  • Lemaireocereus mixtecensis

Other possible synonyms for genus:

 (= ) Chichipia Backeb., nom. inval.
 (= ) Heliabravoa Backeb.

The genus Polaskia comprise 2 species: Polaskia chichipe which is related to to Myrtillocactus and Polaskia chende which is nearer to Stenocereus.


The cause of cresting: The cause of cresting is not fully explained;  biologists disagree as to why some plant grow in this unusual form. Some speculate that it is a genetic mutation. Others say it is the result of lightning strike or freeze damage, but whatever the stimulus, the growth point of the stem has switched from a geometric point, to a line, which folds and undulates as the crest expands. Though these crested Polaskia are somewhat rare, cresting occurs naturally, and can be encountered in many other cactus species. In the ontogenesis a crest can appear any time, but development of crests on large columnar cactus species ( such as the Polaskia) in the early stages of ontogenesis is unlikely. On the other hand, small species may crest early already at the cotyledons stage

Home | E-mail | Plant files | Mail Sale Catalogue | Links | Information | Search

All the information and photos in cactus art files are now available also in the new the Enciclopedia of Cacti. We hope you find this new site informative and useful.