More about Peniscactus (Echinopsis lageniformis fa.monstrosa)
Apart from those living in Bolivia, where this cactus is commonly found, not many know about its psychoactive properties. Its incredible resistance and attractive monstruosus forms, however, should be enough to convince anyone of the more than deserving qualities of this specimen. Originally called Trichocereus bridgesii, the cactus was later classified as Echinopsis lageniformis and is commonly known as the ‘penis plant’ due to its remarkable resemblance with the male organ. Certainly a must have for the more eccentric cacti enthusiasts out there!
The ‘penis plant’ or Bolivian Torch, as it is also known in the west, has been used for centuries by the indigenous populations in Bolivia during rituals and ceremonies. Its active compound, mescaline, is known for inducing psychedelic experiences with entheogenic potential. The Bolivian Torch is one of the many cacti known to contain such compounds, though (possibly) in lower concentrations than the more common mescaline cacti, such as the E. pachanoi.
There are many different varieties of the Bolivian Torch, two of the most common ones are the monstruosus type A and monstruosus type B. They are called monstruosus due its abnormal growth patterns, which form rather irregular shapes. The monstruosus type B is known for its tendency to branch out whereas the type A is known for its more column-like structure.
The monstruosus type A variety’s accepted scientific name is Echinopsis lageniformis f. monstruosa (Long joined type) and is known for its clearly penis resembling shape. Whereas the standard variety of this cactus would have spines coming out of the ribs at somewhat regular intervals throughout its body, the spines of the monstruosus type A variety tend to concentrate only at the base of the cactus, in groups of up to 4.
The monstruosus type A variety is a bit of a slower grower compared to its standard counterpart, however the wait is worth it. Unique in its structure, this variety is likely to be a topic of conversation whenever you have friends over. It can reach heights of up to 60 cm and its branches can become up to 35 cm tall and reach around 5 cm in diameter. The upper part of the stem tends to be rather smooth, with no areoles, and of a more cylindrical shape. It is only at the bottom that some ribs might form alongside some spines, which can be from 4 to 7 cm long.
Just like its standard counterpart, this monstruosus variety is up for a challenge when it comes to growing conditions. Indeed, this specimen is used to rather harsh environments and this shows when it comes to its cultivation. It can take temperatures as low as -12°C and a little bit more of water than most other cacti. In fact, some would say cultivating this cactus is more like cultivating a normal plant than a cactus. Give it a fertile, well drained soil mix and it will thrive like no other!
This cactus likes it sunny and some good direct sunlight won’t do it harm when in moderation. During warmer summer seasons, however, it is recommended to leave it under the shade as it can get sunburned if overexposed to direct sunlight. During winter, it is recommended to induce winter dormancy in the cactus by withholding water and fertilizers. The lack of light during winter will make your green pet etiolate and become thinner.
This variety is much less susceptible to fungal diseases than other species. When overwatered, however, fungal and mould infection can occur, and so it is very important to always keep the cactus in a dry and well ventilated environment. This variety can easily be multiplied via cuttings.
After delivery, place the unrooted cuttings in a pot with dry, well draining cactus soil and place them in a light spot but not in direct sunlight. After about a month, you may give it a little bit more sunshine and very carefully start watering the cutting.
Make sure that you don't overwater the plant before it has roots and let it get used to full sunlight gradually to prevent sunburn. Allow for the soil to dry out between waterings, in spring or autumn you're going to water less then in summer and in the winter you don't need to water your cactus at all.
Echinopsis lageniformis fa.monstrosa (= Trichocereus bridgesii fa. mostrose) Clone A