Old Man of the Andes
Synonyms of Oreoceraus celsianus (32) (Updated on 2-9-21): Borzicactus celsianus (Lem. ex Salm-Dyck) Kimnach, Borzicactus fossulatus (Labour.) Kimnach, Cereus bruennowii (J.N.Haage ex C.F.Först. & Rümpler) Mottet, Cereus celsianus (Cels) Orcutt, Cereus fossulatus (Labour.) Mottet, Cereus tupizensis Vaupel, Cleistocactus celsianus (Cels ex Salm-Dyck) F.A.C.Weber, Cleistocactus tupizensis (Vaupel) Backeb., Echinopsis celsiana (Salm-Dyck) Anceschi & Magli, Oreocereus celsianus var. lanuginosior Salm-Dyck ex Riccob., Oreocereus fossulatus (Labour.) Backeb., Oreocereus fossulatus var. gracilior (K.Schum.) Backeb., Oreocereus fossulatus var. lanuginosior (Salm-Dyck ex K.Schum.) W.T.Marshall, Oreocereus fossulatus var. rubrispinus F.Ritter, Oreocereus maximus Backeb., Oreocereus neocelsianus Backeb., Oreocereus neocelsianus var. ruficeps Y.Itô, Oreocereus neocelsianus var. villosissimus Y.Itô, Pilocereus bruennowii J.N.Haage ex C.F.Först. & Rümpler, Pilocereus brunnowianus Moerder, Pilocereus brunnowii F.Haage ex Nichols., Pilocereus celsianus Salm-Dyck, Pilocereus celsianus f. auratus K.Schum., Pilocereus celsianus var. bruennowii (J.N.Haage ex C.F.Först. & Rümpler) K.Schum., Pilocereus celsianus var. foveolatus (Labour. ex Lem.) Schelle, Pilocereus celsianus var. gracilior K.Schum., Pilocereus celsianus var. lanuginosior Salm-Dyck ex K.Schum., Pilocereus celsianus var. williamsii (Lem.) K.Schum., Pilocereus fossulatus Labour., Pilocereus foveolatus Labour. ex Lem., Pilocereus kanzleri J.N.Haage ex C.F.Först. & Rümpler, Pilocereus williamsii Lem.
Oreocereus celsianus (Salm-Dyck) A.Berger ex Riccob. is the correct and accepted scientific name for this species of Oreocereus. It was described as such by Vincenzo Riccobono in Bollettino delle R[eale] Orto Botanico di Palermo in 1909. The ex” indicates it was previously named and described as such by Alwin Berger so Mr. Riccobono gave him the credit for doing so and used his description. It was first named Pilocereus celsianus Salm-Dyck by (Antoine) Charles Lemaire and Joseph Franz Maria Anton Hubert Salm-Reifferscheid-Dyck (SERIOUSLY) in Cacteae in Horto Dyckensi Cultae in 1849.
The genus, Oreocereus Riccob., was named and described as such by Vincenzo Riccobono in Bollettino delle R[eale] Orto Botanico di Palermo in 1909. Alwin Berger first described it as a subgenus of Cereus in Report (Annual) of the Missouri Botanical Garden in 1905.
Plants of the World Online by Kew lists 8 accepted species in the Oreocereus genus (as of 2-9-21 when I last updated this page). It is a member of the plant family Cactaceae with 144 genera. Those numbers could change as updates are made.
I bought this cactus from Wal-Mart on February 1, 2016. It was approximately 5 1/2” tall x 2 1/4” wide and was in a 3” tall x 3 1/4” pot. It was leaning over so I put it in a larger pot and straightened it up. I put it in a larger pot because of its height and it would fall over easily in a smaller one. Shortly after that, it died…
The pot just had a generic tag with it with no name. I did some research and I thought it could have been a Cephalocereus senilis which is the Old Man Cactus. I wasn’t 100% sure because most of the photos online of the Old Man’s Cactus don’t look like this plant. Some photos of the Micranthocereus polyanthus also resembled my plant…
As I was working on this page, I decided to send a photo to Daiv Freeman of CactiGuide.com and SucculentGuide.com. A few days later he sent the name Oreocereus celsianus. I think he nailed it.
Origin: Bolivia and Peru.
Zones: USDA Zones 8a-10b (10-35° F).
Size: Can grow up to 9 feet or more, but usually less.
Light: Sun to part shade.
Soil: Fast-draining soil, potting soil amended with extra grit and perlite.
Water: It’s a cactus… Average water in summer, very little in winter.
Flowers: Pink/magenta in spring-summer.
On March 19, 2018, I found another Oreocereus celsianus at Wal-Mart. Of course, I had to rescue it along with five other plants. This plant measured about 3 1/2″ tall x 2 1/2″ wide (without the fuzz and thorns) and is in a 3 1/4″ diameter x 3″ tall pot. They were all soaking wet and of course it had the “strawflower” hot-glued to the top. Hopefully, this one will survive and flower someday. I will keep adding more photos as time goes by.
It did very well for a while…
Then it slowly started dying… What is it with this species? Will I give up? Of course not. 🙂
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.