In the early 1970s I had the chance to buy some plants from a collector in Bexhill who was giving up. He had grown all his plants from seed, obtained from Ritter, and had some nice columnar plants grown in tiny pots. Among the plants I bought was a plant of Eulychnia saint-pieana about 10inches (25cm tall).

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Fig 1: Eulychnia saint-pieana with a bud beginning to develop.

 It grew slowly until we moved to Brenfield 24 years ago when it was a single column about 75cm tall. It was planted out along with many other of our columnar plants in our central free-run bed. Growth accelerated, but not as much as many of the other plants which have long since hit the roof and had to be cut down. The Eulychnia is now about 4metres tall and has a number of branches.

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Fig 2: Eulychnia saint-pieana, the bud is larger now.

Three years ago it started to flower and has since done so each year, producing three to four flowers right at the top of the main stem – not too easy to photograph as you have to do so on top of a pair of steps.

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Fig 3: Eulychnia saint-pieana with open flower.

Eulychnia saint-pieana is now generally regarded as a synonym of Eulychnia iquiquensis although the original material is fairly distinctive with its fluffy areoles. It is easy to grow, but very slow and requires much patience to get it to a large specimen.

Tony Mace

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