Chichipe, Chichibe, Chichituna, Chichitun
Synonyms of Polaskia chichipe (5): Cereus chichipe Rol.-Goss., Cereus mixtecensis J.A.Purpus, Lemaireocereus chichipe (Gosselin) Britton & Rose, Lemaireocereus mixtecensis Britton & Rose, Myrtillocactus chichipe (Rol.-Goss.) P.V.Heath (Updated 11-20-20 from Plants of the World Onlne).
Polaskia chichipe (Rol.-Goss) Backeb. is the correct and accepted scientific name for this species of Polaskia. It was named and described as such by Curt Backeberg in Cactus and Succulent Journal in 1951. It was first named and described as Cereus chichipe by Robert Roland-Gosselin in Bulletin du Muséum d’Histoire Naturelle in 1905.
The genus, Polaskia Backeb., was also named and described by Curt Backeberg in Blätter fur Sukkulentenkunde 1949.
Plants of the World Online by Kew lists two accepted species in the genus (as of 11-11-20 when I am writing this page). The genus is a member of the Cactaceae Family with 144 accepted genera. Those numbers could change as updates are made.
There are several links at the bottom of the page for further reading.
I found this cactus at Lowe’s on 11-10-20. There are three plants in the 11 oz. (3 1/2” diameter) pot. The tallest plant measured 2 3/4” tall x 1 5/8” wide, the middle plant measured 2 3/8” tall x 1 1/2” wide, and the smallest measured about 2” tall x 1 1/4” wide.
This cactus wasn’t labeled with its name, so I posted photos the Facebook group called Succulent infatuation. A member suggested it was a Polaskia chichipe and after doing some research, they may be correct. These plants are very small, but if they are Polaskia chichipe, they can grow to 15′ and produce multiple branches. I will send photos elsewhere to see if I can get other opinions because information online says Polaskia chichipe generally has 9-12 ribs and the plants I brought home have only seven…
Polaskia chichipe is native to warmer areas of central and southwest Mexico. Where they are prized for their edible fruit.
Plants have seven ribs. The small spines are brownish at the top and more gray toward the bottom.
The plants in this pot have 7 ribs, but information on LLIFLE (Encyclopedia of Living Forms) and other sites say they have 9-12 ribs. They have 6-7 radial spines that can grow up to2″ long and 1 central spine. They produce pinkish-white or yellow-green flowers in the wild between March and June and produce fruit between June and August.
There was one of those darn “strawflowers” on the top of the biggest plant. It was fairly loose and I was able to get it off without too much damage. I have had several cactus that took a while for all the glue to come off. Sometimes the company sticks a big glob of glue on the flower and you just have to leave it alone or risk damaging the plant. Trust me, it will eventually come off. If the flower won’t easily come off, I take the scissors and cut off as much as I can.
Origin: Central Mexico
Zones: USDA Zones 9-11 (20-40° F)
Size: Up to maybe 15’ tall
Light: Sun to part shade
Soil: Fast-draining soil. I used 2 parts Miracle Grow Potting soil amended with 1 part additional perlite and 1 part chicken grit for many years. I started using a 50/50 mixture of Miracle Grow Potting Soil and pumice.
Water: Regular watering during the summer and hardly any during the winter.
There are many cactus and succulent recipes online. Many cactus and succulent enthusiasts recommend using a humus-based mixture but finding a good source here is not easy. I used one brand and mixed perlite and chicken grit as usual and the mixture became hard as a brick. They also recommend using pumice so I started using a 50/50 mixture of Miracle Grow Potting soil and pumice in 2018 and have had great results. You can buy pumice from General Pumice online or find smaller quantities on Ebay.
Polaskia chichipe is a slow-growing cactus. They are fairly cold tolerant but cannot withstand freezing temps. They need a very well-draining soil as do all cactus. Information suggests they only like a short rest period in the winter and should be almost completely dry during that time.
Watering should be increased beginning in March and should have regular watering during the summer. Watering should be reduced starting in September and from October through February when you should water very little if any.
There isn’t that much online about this species but I will continue adding more 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. There isn’t much online about this plant yet…