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Oreocereus celsianus 1.jpg
A small Oreocereus celsianus
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Order: Caryophyllales
Family: Cactaceae
Subfamily: Cactoideae
Tribe: Trichocereeae
Genus: Oreocereus
(A.Berger) Riccob.

Oreocereus celsianus - old man of the Andes
Oreocereus doelzianus
Oreocereus fossulatus
Oreocereus hendriksenianus
Oreocereus leucotrichus
Oreocereus ritteri
Oreocereus trollii
Oreocereus variicolor

Oreocereus is a genus of cacti (family Cactaceae), known only from high altitudes of the Andes. Its name means "mountain cereus", formed from the Greek prefix oreo- (ὀρεο-, mountain)[1] and the New Latin cereus, meaning wax or torch.

As they are covered with woolly white fuzz (modified spines), a few species in this genus are sometimes known as the old-man cactus,[2][3] a generic name that also refers to Cephalocereus senilis or Espostoa lanata. More rarely, the old man of the mountain is also used for some species.[nb 1]


The following genera have been included in this genus:


  1. ^ “[...] hairy cacti in cultivation include: golden old man (C. chrysacanthus), old woman (Mammillaria hahniana), Chilean old lady (Neoporteria senilis), and old man of the mountain (Borzicactus trollii).”[4] [emphasis added, B. trollii being an old name for O. trollii].[5]
  1. ^ "oreography". Oxford English Dictionary (3rd ed.). Oxford University Press. September 2005. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  2. ^ University of Vermont, Indoor Plants
  3. ^ Barry Walker; Huw Lloyd (2007). Peruvian Wildlife: A Visitor's Guide to the Central Andes. Bradt Travel Guides. p. 23. ISBN 978-1-84162-167-8.
  4. ^ Encyclopædia Britannica (1991), entry ‘old-man cactus’.
  5. ^ D. J. Mabberley (2008-05-01). Mabberley's Plant-book: A Portable Dictionary of Plants, Their Classifications, and Uses. Cambridge University Press. p. 608. ISBN 978-0-521-82071-4.