The colourful spines are strong, glassy and usually amber
coloured but also bright yellow or pure black.
E. aurata is a very large and very spiny barrel cactus with numerous
fascinating plant is known by Chileans under
the name of "sandillon" and resembles in habit and fruit
to some of the giant species of Echinocactus in Mexico.
Spherical with abundant white wool on top up
to 50 cm in diameter. Adult specimens become columnar, reaching over 90
cm in height.
Ribs: Around 30-35 ribs
Spines: Spines colour is variable
yellow, amber yellow, fox red or almost black. Juvenile specimens have 1
central spine and 8 radial, but the number increase as they get older
and areoles can have over 20 spines on mature specimens.
Flowers: Red campanulate or funnel-shaped 5 cm long, from the
apex of plant, with a white hairy floral tube.
There might be over 50 flowers on a mature specimen (only mature
specimens bloom). Ovary densely matted with matted wool.
Fruits: Oblong, becoming dry, dehiscing by a basal pore, very
Seeds: Rather large, dull, black-pitted with a sub-basal hilum.
E. aurata (sandillon)
A plant from Vicuņa 2000m
(North central Chile, at medium elevations in the Andes)
rot prone if kept in a non
Require a very fast draining drying soil, water regularly in summer,
but do not overwater.
full sun exposure (or
Good heat tolerance.
to at least -5°C
propagated from Seeds.
(seldom produces offsets) But the seedling are often grafted because the
plants on their own roots (especially the bigger ones) are extremely
prone to root rot. In fact the best and older specimens are the grafted
Photo of conspecific taxa, varieties, forms and cultivars
of plants belonging
to the Eriosyce aurata
Taxon has several of
synonyms whit various controversial varieties and subspecies):
Eriosyce aurata (Pfeiff.) Backeb. 1936
at medium elevations in the Andes
Conservation status: Listed in
CITES appendix 2.
Eriosyce sandillon (Gay) Phil. 1872
Britton & Rose 1922
Eriosyce ausseliana F. Ritter (Nom inval.)
Eriosyce algarrobensis F. Ritter 1980
F. Ritter 1980
Eriosyce lapampaensis F. Ritter 1980
E. aurata N. Ovalle 1000m with glassy honey/yellow spines
E. aurata (ceratistes) Huatalame 1000m.
A form with strong
Grafted on trichocereus
(this species is frequntly grafted to avoid root rot)