English name: Silver torch/woolly torch
Latin name: Cleistocactus strausii
Family: Cactus - Cactaceae
Origin: Bolivia, Argentina
The silver torch grows naturally in high-altitude mountain regions, over 3,000 metres above sea level. This straight, slender, ,grey-green columnar cactus can reach a height of 3 metres, while only 6 cm. in diameter. The column has about 25 ribs and is densely covered with areoles, each of which support over four yellow-brown spines which grow to over 4 cm. in length, and 20 shorter radial spines. In its natural environment, this cactus receives a great deal of water in the summer, but almost none in the winter. The older cactus, measuring over 45 cm., blooms in the late summer. The red or burgundy flowers, tubular and up to 6 cm. in length, grow horizontally from the columns.