Chichipe, Chichibe, Chichituna, Chichitun
Synonyms of Polaskia chichipe (5) (Updated on 12-12-22 from Plants of the World Online): 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 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.
As of 12-12-22 when this page was last updated, Plants of the World Online by Kew lists two accepted species in the genus Polaskia. The genus is a member of the plant family Cactaceae with 150 genera. Those numbers could change as updates are made on POWO.
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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.
As you can see in the above photo, my plants have seven ribs. The small spines are brownish at the top and more gray toward the bottom. 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 to 2″ 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 cacti 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.
The above photo is a close-up showing the 6-7 radial spines and one central spine and prominent ribs.
Polaskia chichipe is a slow-growing cactus. They are fairly cold tolerant but cannot withstand freezing temps. They need very well-draining soil as do all cacti. Information suggests they only like a short rest period in the winter and should be almost completely dry during that time.
The three Polaskia chichipe have done quite well over the summer on the front porch. The largest plant has grown 1/2″ taller since November 11, 2020.
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. Good quality potting soil amended with pumice (50/50 or additional perlite and chicken grit (2-1-1).
Water: Regular watering during the summer and hardly any during the winter.
You can read my Cactus Talk & Update and Cactus & Succulent Tips to get my opinion about growing cacti and succulents.
When you bring your new plants home from the store, you need to check their roots and the soil to see if they are wet. If so, you may want to re-pot it right away. It is advisable to re-pot them in a better potting soil more suitable for cacti and succulents.
I had to bring the potted plants inside for the winter on October 16 in 2022 because a “you know what” was in the forecast. I moved the cacti on the front porch with the succulents in the spring to give them a little more shade over the summer. The Polaskia chichipe (Chichipe, ETC.) did pretty well considering they don’t look that great. I’m not sure what happened to the one on the left, but the one on the right had straw flower damage. You know, those silly fake flowers they stick on with some kind of glue. Perhaps the other marks are naturally occurring as the plants grow. The big scar on the one on the right is likely from the straw flower. There were three plants in the pot, but one died last winter. The plant on the right now measures 3 7/8″ tall x 1 1/2″ wide, while the one on the left is 3 1/4″ tall x 2 5/8″ wide
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…