Polaskia Chichipe (Specimen #2)
Specimen Size: 10" tall by 3" in diameter
Cactus species Polaskia chichipe is a columnar tree-like cactus with many curved branches, up to 16' ft. (5 m) tall. Stems average 4 to 6" in diameter and are a blue/green color when young on new growth then turn more of a grey-greenish color. Stem ribs are widely spaced and wavy with long spines. The flowers bloom in spring/summer and are day blooming (diurnal) to partially nocturnal, white to off white-yellowish-green followed by small (1-1/2" average diameter) but very tasty edible red fleshed fruit. Drought tolerant once established Polaskia chichipe also makes for an attractive low maintenance landscape plant + you get the added benefit of tasty edible fruit!
Native to: Mexico in the regions of Oaxaca and Puebla.
Common Names: Chichibe, Chichipe, Chichitun, Chichituna.
Synonym(s): Cereus chichipe, Lemaireocereus chichipe, Myrtillocactus chichipe, Cereus mixtecensis, Lemaireocereus mixtecensis.
Care : Semi-rich good draining soil mix for faster growth in containers. Average soil and good drainage if planted in the landscape. Full sun and occasional water in summer less frequent once well established. Somewhat cold sensitive to frosts, so below 40 degrees might need light protection especially with young plants in winter. If 32 degrees or lower or frost, bring inside or cover apex as top is somewhat flat or incurving and can be pinched/damaged, placing a large Styrofoam cups on tops often is sufficient in Southern California areas. Zones 9a and up if ground planted, light protection might be needed if brief frosts zones 9a in winter January-February.
More info.: Polaskia named after American amateur Charles Polaski. Polaskia is a genus of tree-like cacti reaching 13' to 16' feet (4–5 m) high, comprising only 2 species. Both present primitive characteristics, but Polaskia chichipe is nearer to Myrtillocactus in growth form while Polaskia chende is nearer to Stenocereus. The genus Polaskia is found in the Mexican states of Puebla and Oaxaca.
Polaskia chichipe is widely cultivated in central Mexico for its edible strawberry red fruits locally called chichituna or cactus ('Tuna'), also the branches are used as fuel-wood source. Cultivated plants tend to have larger and sweeter fruits and a longer period of fruit production. In addition to eating out-of-hand, it is used in drinks, jams, and as a syrup for snow cones in Spanish called raspados instead of snow cones.