Ajuntament de Barcelona

Cleistocactus strausii

Mossèn Costa i Llobera Garden

    Spanish name: 
    Antorcha plateada
    English name: 
    Silver torch
    Species characteristics
    Northern Argentina (Jujuy and Salta) and Chuquisaca, Santa Cruz and Tarija (Bolivia)
    Andean buttresses at a height of 1,700 m

    Fleshy greyish-green perennial columnar plant, 1 m tall, although it can reach 2 m.

    The stems, 4-8 cm in diameter, have around 25 narrow, not very prominent ribs. These ribs, also greyish-green, have many small areolas (the spot where the prickles sprout), 0.5 apart cm and covered by white woolliness. The numerous radial prickles (around 30) are snow white, straight and short (1.5 cm), whereas the 4 central prickles, 2-4 cm long, are light or brownish yellow. The tubular burgundy flowers measure about 8 cm long.

    The spherical red fruit is covered by white woolliness and contains small black seeds.

    Flowering time: 
    Uses and properties: 

    Used in gardening for decoration purposes because of its form and its white colour.

    History and curiosities: 

    The scientific name, Cleistocactus strausii, consists of the genus name Cleistocactus, from the Greek words κλειστός, “closed”, and κάκτος, “cactus”, in reference to the closed flowers of this cactus genus, and the Latin term strausii, “of Straus”, in allusion to the German cactus lover L. Straus (1862-1934), cofounder of the German Cactus Society.

    In Barcelona, it is unusual.

    For further information: 

    THE ROYAL HORTICULTURAL SOCIETY. Enciclopedia de plantas y flores. Barcelona: Grijalbo, 1996