Facheiroa (2010)

By Eric Driskill (July 2010)

Facheiroas belong to the subfamily Cactoideae, tribe Trichocereeae. Facheiroa was described by Britton and Rose in 1920. Zehntnerella, another genus described by Britton and Rose later the same year, is now believed to also belong to Facheiroa. Facheiroa has from three to eight species, depending on what author you read and whether you count subspecies.

These plants are all found in Bahia, Brazil, in the northeast part of the country. Bahia is located at 12 to 14 degrees south latitude. If we travel to 12-14 degrees north latitude, we would find ourselves somewhere near Nicaragua in Central America. These plants are much closer to the equator than cacti found in North America.

Facheiroas are shrubby to treelike with cylindrical stems and multiple branches up to 16 feet tall. Stems can range from several to as many as 40 in F. ulei. Slender ribs number 12 to 25 and more in older mature specimens. Spines are mostly fine and straight, up to 2 inches long, but typically shorter than an inch. Mature plants develop lateral cephalia which bear short, tubular flowers that open at night. Flowers in the genus range from white to red.

These are plants that won’t take up much room anytime soon. It takes years for a plant to branch to the point of taking up much room horizontally or vertically.

Facheiroas are not particularly difficult in cultivation, although you may have difficulty finding them. One author said they are rare in cultivation due to the plants being particularly frost-sensitive, but another author stated the plants are hardy to the 20s. If you are going to test those temperatures, I would suggest staying on the dry side.