Old Man of the Andes (Oreocereus celsianus)

Common names:
Give a thumbs up Old Man of the Andes
Give a thumbs up Viejo Hombre de los Andes

Botanical names:
Oreocereus celsianus Accepted
Borzicactus fossulatus Synonym
Oreocereus maximus Synonym

General Plant Information (Edit)
Plant Habit: Shrub
Life cycle: Perennial
Sun Requirements: Full Sun
Minimum cold hardiness: Zone 6b -20.6 °C (-5 °F) to -17.8 °C (0 °F)
Plant Height: Up to 9.8 feet (3 meters) or more
Leaves: Needled
Other: Leaves present as spines (modified leaves).
Fruit: Dehiscent
Flowers: Showy
Suitable Locations: Xeriscapic
Uses: Provides winter interest
Resistances: Drought tolerant
Propagation: Other methods: Cuttings: Stem
Containers: Suitable in 1 gallon
Suitable in 3 gallon or larger
Needs excellent drainage in pots
Miscellaneous: Tolerates poor soil
With thorns/spines/prickles/teeth
Awards and Recognitions: RHS AGM
Conservation status: Least Concern (LC)

Conservation status:
Conservation status: Least Concern
Fruit is basally dehiscent with a hole at the bottom to release s

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Posted by Baja_Costero (Baja California - Zone 11b) on Feb 17, 2018 1:22 PM

One of the larger and more common Oreocereus species (also the type). This South American genus comes from higher elevations in the Andes. Like a few of the others, this species is covered by long, thick, white hair and armed with stout spines. This white hair may help it harvest humidity from the air when fog is present. Purplish pink flowers give rise to greenish globose fruit which detaches and releases black seeds from the base. May be self fertile.

Usually branches at the base. Stems grow to a few inches in diameter and a few feet in height over time.

Develops brighter, thicker, and fuller hair in full sun. The hair acts as a sunscreen, making the plant very tolerant of extreme exposure in mild climates.

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Discussion Threads about this plant
Thread Title Last Reply Replies
Cactus and tender succulents chat by Baja_Costero Oct 15, 2018 10:35 PM 2,591
Old man of the Andes and golden barrel cacti by Plantsmylove Feb 15, 2016 5:25 PM 2
Plant rescues from home depot by Plantsmylove Jul 4, 2016 7:32 PM 10
Tender Succulents Chat and Photos by valleylynn Dec 27, 2016 12:50 AM 907

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