Austrocylindropuntia vestita forma cristata
It forms slim fans with dramatic fasciated tips densely cloaked
with thin long white hairs.
Description: It is
columnar white and very furry cactus
from high altitude.
The standard plants form
branch both basally and near the top of the stems.
Cylindrical 2-3 cm in diameter covered densely with long white hairs.
The stems can eventually
grow to almost 60 cm tall.
caducous (but lasting from spring to autumn if the plant is kept
Few thin, up to 1 cm long and white. The plant has also abundant long,
fine and rubbery hairs which completely cover the branches.
is not a reliable
bloomer. When flowering finally occurs, the flowers will be a beautiful
deep red or
violet up to 2-2,5cm . The hairiness of the
pericarpel is mostly as dense as that of the stems, merely the
spination remains less. The flowers are developed always at the top of
The nice crested form
undulating pads covered with fine white hair and
is now common and present in most
gardens. Flowers eventually appear on any reverted "Cotton Pole" slim
forms generally occur when injury occurs to the plant at a young age
(this damage can be due to insects eating the growing tip, or from many
other causes, including a genetic predisposition). In reaction to the
"injury", the cells at the tip of the branch where growth occurs begin
to multiply at a much faster rate and the normal growing tip "goes
crazy", creating fantastic whorls and fans.
Summer (with leaves)
Photo of conspecific taxa, varieties, forms and
cultivars of Austrocylindropuntia vestita.
Scientific name: Austrocylindropuntia
vestita (Salm-Dyck) Backeberg
Conservation status: Listed in
CITES appendix 2.
Common English Names include:
"Cotton Coral Cactus", "Cotton
Pole", "Old Man Opuntia"
Etymology: The species
name "vestita" refers to the plants' vestments, its
clothing of white hairs that turns into dens colonies what appears to be
patches of snow remembering the high mountain peaks that surround - on
all sides - the habitat of this plant.
chuquisacana (Cárdenas) F.Ritter, 1980
teres (Cels ex F.A.C.Weber) Backeberg, 1944
- Cylindropuntia teres
(Cels ex F.A.C.Weber) Backeberg, 1935
vestita (Salm-Dyck) Backeberg, 1936
vestita (Salm-Dyck) R.Kiesling, 1998
- Opuntia chuquisacana
- Opuntia heteromorpha
- Opuntia teres
Cels ex F.A.C.Weber, 1898
- Opuntia vestita
heteromorphus (Philippi) Backeberg,
by Süleyman Demir Turkey
by Süleyman Demir Turkey
The genus Austrocylindropuntia comprises eleven species and was
created by Curt Backeberg in 1938 for the cylindrical Opuntias of
South-America. The cylindrical Opuntias of North-America was instead
placed in the genus Cylindropuntia.
Austrocylindropuntia can easily be
distinguished from Cylindropuntia: Cylindropuntia spines have papery
sheaths, Austrocylindropuntia spines lack them. Austrocylindropuntia
have cylindrical stems that grow indeterminately, not like many other Opuntias with stems that grow in a single season. Fresh stems have
noticeable leaves that soon fall off. Austrocylindropuntias form low
cushions o bushes up to 3 of 5m. The seeds are different too.
This particular species needs
when soil is dry
but it is prone to root rot, so prudent watering is necessary.
Keep dry in winter. I comes from high altitude
and do not like hot,
stuffy summers, it is best to put them in airy places
with ample airflow.
requires a very
mineral potting mix and a full sun or slightly
Protect from severe frost.
Seeds are seldom available and extremely difficult to
germinate. Best reproduced by
cutting that produce roots easily.
The crested variety, which is
more delicate, multiplies more easily using grafting.