Fairy Castles, Spiny Hedge Cactus, Peruvian Apple
Cereus hildmannianus subsp. uruguayanus
KER-ee-us hild-man-ee-AH-nus ur-uh-gway-AN-us
There is a long list of synonyms…
Synonyms for Cereus hildmannianus: Cactus abnormis Willd., Cereus abnormis (Willd.) Sweet, Cereus alacriportanus Pfeiff., Cereus alacriportanus var. bageanus (F.Ritter) P.J.Braun, Cereus bonariensis C.F.Först., Cereus calvescens DC., Cereus childsii Blanc, Cereus curvispinus Pfeiff., Cereus hildmannianus subsp. xanthocarpus (K.Schum.) P.J.Braun & Esteves, Cereus milesimus Rost, Cereus monstrosus (DC.) Steud., Cereus monstruosus K.Schum., Cereus neonesioticus (F.Ritter) P.J.Braun, Cereus neonesioticus var. interior (F.Ritter) P.J.Braun, Cereus peruvianus var. alacriportanus (Pfeiff.) K.Schum., Cereus peruvianus var. monstrosus DC., Cereus peruvianus var. ovicarpus Hertrich, Cereus peruvianus var. persicinus Werderm., Cereus peruvianus var. proferrens Werderm., Cereus peruvianus var. reclinatus Werderm., Cereus validus Haw., Cereus xanthocarpus K.Schum., Piptanthocereus bageanus F.Ritter, Piptanthocereus neonesioticus F.Ritter, Piptanthocereus neonesioticus var. interior F.Ritter, Piptanthocereus validus (Haw.) Riccob., Piptanthocereus xanthocarpus (K.Schum.) F.Ritter.
Synonyms for Cereus hildmannianus subsp. uruguayanus: Cereus uruguayanus F.Ritter ex R.Kiesling.
Cereus hildmannianus subsp. uruguayanus (R. Kiesling) N.P. Taylor is the correct and accepted scientific infraspecific name for this subspecies of Cereus hildmannianus. It was named and first described as such by Nigel Paul Taylor in Cactaceae Consensus Init. in 1998. Cereus hildmannianus was named and first documented by Karl Moritz Schumann in Flora Brasiliensis in 1890. Cereus uruguayanus was named and first documented by Roberto Kiesling in Darwinian in 1982.
The 2013 version of The Plant List says Cereus hildmannianus subsp. uruguayanus was an unresolved infraspecific name but the new Plants of the World Online by Kew says it is now accepted. Thanks, Kew!
BUT… Some have this cactus and Acanthocareus tetragonus confused. When it is all said and done, they could be the same species… Well, I now have both and there definitely are differences.
The genus, Cereus Mill., was named and described by Philip Miller in the fourth edition of The Gardeners Dictionary in 1754. Plants of the World Online by Kew currently list 26 accepted species in the Cereus genus (as of 10-27-19 when I am updating this page). That number is subject to change. The Plant List (not maintained since 2013), lists 48 accepted species (plus 4 infraspecific names) a total of 254 synonyms, and 456 unresolved names. So, the people in charge have been working hard to get the Cereus genus organized. So many species had multiple scientific names.
I bought this cactus from Wal-Mart on January 28, 2016. I had been there a few days earlier and noticed they had just got in a shipment of cactus and succulents. They were still wrapped in plastic sleeves and drenched with water. I didn’t have money at the time, so I went back on the 28th to see what they had. Believe it or not, the plants were STILL wrapped in their plastic sleeves and STILL soaked with water.
Most cactus I buy from Wal-Mart are small, but this one measured 6 1/8″ tall x 3 1/2″ wide.
This plant was unlabeled, so instead of trying to figure out what it was, I put photos on a Facebook group for suggestions. One of the members said it was Cereus hildmannianus subsp. uruguayanus and the common name was Fairy Castles. I checked the name out and believe that is correct.
Origin (species/subspecies): Northeast Argentina, south Brazil, and Uruguay, etc.
Zones: 10a-11 (30-40° F)
Size: 24-36” tall
Light: Light to full shade…
Soil: Very fast draining mix
Water: Average to moderate during growing period
The ‘Fairy Castles’ did well the first summer but started getting weird over the winter. It was turning yellow and I thought it would soon die. I just noticed the baby Walking Stick in this photo as I was updating this page… 🙂
When I took the above photo I noticed some critters, probably crickets, had been snacking.
According to Plants of the World Online, this subspecies is native to Northeast Argentina, southern Brazil, and Uruguay. Llifle (Encyclopedia of Living Forms) say it occurs only in Uruguay. As far as the cultivar ‘Fairy Castles’ is concerned, its origin is somewhat controversial. Apparently, it was discovered “in cultivation” which means not in the wild, such as in a nursery or garden.
I bought the potted plants inside for the winter on 10-17-17. I took them to the basement first then moved the cactus and succulents upstairs. As you can see, it looks like this plant is barely hanging on. Even though it looks like it does, it did grow. It measured 6 7/8″ tall x 4″ wide when the above photo was taken.
Well, as you can tell in the above photo, it isn’t dead yet. It is growing! It has been in my bedroom over the winter and has been looking better. You just have to overlook all the scars from the crickets.
We had a pretty bad Japanese Beetle invasion and I had to move the potted plants to a new location. I put the cactus on the back porch in full sun and most of the other potted plants went on the front porch.
Temperatures started dropping so I decided to move the potted plants inside for the winter. As usual, I measured them and this plant is now 7 1/4″ tall x 4 1/2″ wide. That’s very good! It measured 6 7/8″ tall x 4″ wide last October 17.
I took the cactus outside for a photoshoot on November 29. We had a couple of spring-like days and I wanted to take photos for a new blog post comparing the cactus in my collection.
My plant’s stems are somewhat spineless and what spines it does have are very thin and hair-like. Its areoles also have small wooly tufts mainly on newer growth and almost absent farther down the stem. The species is found in several countries in South America while the subspecies is only found in Uruguay. The species and subspecies are MUCH taller in the wild than this miniature version…
The cactus are all outside on the back porch for the summer where they can enjoy the full sun. I always like taking photos of my plants, but this one is a little tricky because of the scarring from the crickets. We have had our ups and downs but it has survived and it continues to grow. I often wonder how other people’s cactus like this are doing and if they have had the same issues.
I had to move the plants inside for the winter on 6-11-19. As always, I measured the cactus and some of the succulents. This one shrunk because the top of the oldest and tallest trunk was damaged and the new growth fell off. Last October it was 7 1/4″ tall and now it is 6 1/2″ tall. It is still the same width as last year at 4 1/2″. The new growth that fell off was approximately 1″ tall. The offsets around the main stem had grown a lot over the summer.
This cactus did very well over the summer of 2020. I had it on the back porch last year in full sun as an experiment and decided to put it back on the front porch for 2020. It had had many battles with crickets and cats in the past and has several scars. It grew to 8″ tall x 6 3/4″ wide over the summer which is 1 1/2″ taller and 2 1/4″ wider than when I brought the plants inside in 2019. That’s pretty good. Its color is also much better now.
I will continue adding photos and information as time goes by.
I hope you enjoyed this page and maybe found it useful. If you have any comments, questions or suggestions, I would like to hear from you. Please click on “like” if you visited this page. It helps us bloggers stay motivated. 🙂 You can check out the links below for further reading. The links take you directly to the genus and species of this plant. You can also email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.