Is Peruvian Apple Cactus the Same as San Pedro Cactus? 

The San Pedro cactus is considered a “sacred plant” by the indigenous peoples of Peru and Bolivia, who believe it to be a physical link to spiritual energy. They often use it in ceremonies that involve intense prayer and meditation. 

The Peruvian Apple is one of the cacti most commonly mistaken as San Pedro. The differences between the two are subtle: the San Pedro has yellow-brown spines., while the Peruvian has a grey-ish one. Even their flowers differ: the San Pedro has larger flowers that grow on top of the plant, while the Peruvian grows its flowers in clusters at the bottom of its branches.

They both have a similar color and areoles, and they’re both fast-growing columnar species. 

The San Pedro cactus is a psychedelic plant that has been used for healing and religious divination in the Andes Mountains region for over 3,000 years. It is sometimes confused with its close relative Echinopsis peruviana (Peruvian torch cactus). Both plants are very large columnar cacti, but their flowers and effects are quite different.

Does the Peruvian Apple Cactus Cause Hallucinations?

The Peruvian apple cactus, also known as Echinopsis Perucactus or Peruvian Torch Cactus, is a native plant of the Andean mountain region in South America. It has been used for centuries by indigenous people in Peru and neighboring countries for medicinal and religious purposes. The cactus contains mescaline, a naturally occurring psychedelic alkaloid that can cause hallucinations, altered perceptions, and feelings of euphoria.

The use of Peruvian apple cactus in traditional Andean medicine is well documented and it has been used to treat a variety of ailments including fever, arthritis, and skin infections. In addition to its medicinal properties, the cactus has also been used in religious ceremonies by indigenous people in Peru, Bolivia, and Chile. The cactus is considered sacred and is believed to have spiritual and healing properties.

In recent years, the Peruvian apple cactus has gained popularity as a recreational drug due to its psychedelic effects. It is often consumed in the form of a tea or powder, and its use has been associated with spiritual experiences and personal growth. However, its use can also be dangerous and can lead to adverse effects such as nausea, vomiting, and anxiety.

Overall, the Peruvian apple cactus has a long history of use by indigenous people in South America for medicinal and religious purposes. Its use as a recreational drug has become more popular in recent years, but its effects can be unpredictable and potentially dangerous.

What Is the Scientific Name of:

Peruvian cactus?

The Peruvian apple cactus (also known as a columnar, column, hedge cactus, and others) has the scientific name Cereus peruvianus.

San Pedro cactus?

The popular cactus Echinopsis pachanoi (syn. Trichocereus pachanoi) is known by many names, most commonly ‘San Pedro cactus’.

How Tall Does a:

Peruvian cactus grow?

Common Name: Peruvian Apple Cactus. Other common names include Cereus Night-Blooming Cactus, Apple Cactus, Hedge Cactus, and Peruvian Tree Cactus. Height: 15′ to 30′ (growers using plant supports have reached heights of 110′). Growth: Rapidly increasing.

Pedro cactus grow?

Grows up to 10-20 ft. tall (300-600 cm) and 5-6 ft. wide (150-180 cm). Vigorous, San Pedro Cactus can grow 12 in.

When Should I Repot:

Peruvian apple cactus

The first thing to do is buy a nice pot for your plant. You can repot the young plants every year in spring. Once they mature, you will only need to repot them every few years, always moving to a pot size just slightly larger.

When watering, be careful not to over-water it! It needs direct sunlight per day, but make sure it does not get too hot during this time—it can fry in bright sunlight! The best location for a Peruvian Apple Cactus is in front of a window that gets directly exposed to the sun.

San Pedro

A general rule of thumb is to repot every 2 to 4 years. If you fertilize annually, the latter is more appropriate but if you don’t fertilize, repot in two years to replenish soil fertility. The best time is during active growth in January or February.

This plant can survive in almost any soil as long as it drains well and is not pot-bound. And if you choose, you can even grow it potted in water. Nevertheless, repotting will eventually be necessary to keep your San Pedro healthy and happy.

One main reason for repotting a San Pedro is to keep the plant from growing too large for its container. A mature plant may have roots that fill the pot and begin to break through the bottom over time. Over time, such roots become vulnerable to being damaged by temperature changes and rot during periods of dryness or if they are not submerged in water often enough. This can lead to the death of the plant and its roots. 

How Much Sun 

Peruvian apple cactus

It is recommended that this plant be given 8+ hours of direct sunlight per day. So, if you have it in a spot where there’s not much sun at all, you may need to repot it in an area that gets more light. If the leaves are starting to get a little brown (not necessarily dried up, but like they’ve been burned), try giving your plant more sunlight. The plant should start looking healthier soon!

San Pedro

San Pedro cactus is a vigorous, trouble-free succulent. It can grow 12 in. (30 cm) per year, and it’s easy to see why. Native to the Andes mountains of South America, San Pedro (trichocereus pachanoi) is one of the most drought-tolerant plants you can grow. 

 San Pedro doesn’t need much sun to be happy—it will flourish in light shade during the hot summer months, making it the perfect plant for a cool, sunny windowsill or a shady patio. If you’d like to grow a San Pedro that grows straight up instead of outwards (and thus develops a fat base), give it as much sun as possible during spring and summer and as little as possible during fall and winter.


Peruvian Apple Cactus

Peruvian apple cactus, or Echinopsis peruviana in its scientific nomenclature, is a species of cactus native to the Andes in South America. It’s also been used for traditional medicine. The fruit is sweet and somewhat juicy, like a red apple; it’s also called Queen of the Night in some circles. It’s easy to see why: its red color is vibrant and it can last for hours after being picked from the plant. 

These features make it an ideal candidate for decorative purposes indoors, especially during the fall season. However, you should be careful around pets and other living things, as the spines are quite sharp and can cause injury if you get too close to their stems or leaves.

Toxicity: Nontoxic – though please take into consideration spines around children.

San Pedro Cactus

The San Pedro Cacti are poisonous because San Pedro Cactus contains a hallucinogen called mescaline, which is also found in other species of Peyote and Lophophora. The effects of Mescaline include hallucinations, euphoria, mental confusion, an altered sense of time, a loss of boundaries between oneself and the external world, as well as nausea when consumed with alcohol.


Peruvian Apple Cactus

If you want to grow your own Peruvian apple cactus, you may need to pollinate it yourself—it’s not a self-pollinating plant. The flowers are large, fragrant, and open at night; this means that the plant requires pollination from other Peruvian apple cactuses or similar species, such as Cereus Jamacaru or Cereus Hildmannianus.

There are several night pollinators such as moths, flies, and bats.

San Pedro

If you love plants with a story behind them, San Pedro is the one for you. This beautiful white flower grows wild in the Andes, where giant hummingbirds pollinate it. Since the hummingbirds are nocturnal and very sensitive to light, they search for nectar after dark. 

At dusk, the flowers open in time to provide the birds with lots of nectar—but if you’re thinking of putting these beauties in your garden, beware: they only bloom at night, which can be quite an odd sight if you’re not used to it! That said, if your neighborhood doesn’t have any night-blooming plants and you want to experience something truly unusual, San Pedro is worth a try.

Can You Eat Cactus Fruit

 Peruvian Apple Cactus

The fruit is edible, with a flavor somewhat like an apple or kiwi. It is hardy and grows quite well in our area except when we have a frost or freeze. 

San Pedro

Cactus is a popular decoration for homes and businesses alike. But did you know that cacti are also edible? The fruit of most cacti is safe to eat, though some varieties with spines should be avoided. 

Other types of cacti are not edible. Peyote , Bolivian torch (Echinopsis peruviana), and San Pedro (Trichocereus pachanoi) are three commonly available cacti that contain mescaline; eating them can cause physical harm or induce mind-altering experiences.

How do you identify 

Peruvian Torch cactus

They are cylindrical cacti that branch from the base and can reach 10 meters (30 feet) in height. They present 6 to 8 wide and rounded ribs, whitish areoles, 3 to 7 radial spines, and 1-2 long central spines; At the apex of the cactus there is a “V” shaped indentation.

San Pedro cactus

The San Pedro Cactus is a columnar plant, it is very branched and its stem is green. It can grow up to 6 meters (20 feet) or more. The flowers are born near the top of the stems, they open at night, they are white, about 20 cm long, and very fragrant

How Cold Hardy

Peruvian apple cactus

The Peruvian apple cactus is a beautiful small night-blooming cactus native to Peru. Despite its delicate appearance, this plant can endure temperatures as low as eighteen degrees Fahrenheit. If a frost is a forecast, protect the ends of the plant with Styrofoam cups or sheets. The Peruvian apple cactus will grow best in a bright window or in a greenhouse.

San Pedro

It’s also an excellent plant for anyone growing in less-than-ideal conditions, as it’s hardy down to at least 10°F (-12°C).


While the San Pedro and Peruvian Apple may look similar, they are different plants, and the effects of each are unique. Both are powerful psychedelic cacti that have played roles in rituals for millennia, but each has its own way of affecting its consumer.

Overall, it’s easy to see the similarities that these two cacti share. Both San Pedro and Peruvian apple cactus are hallucinogenic, though the Peruvian will produce a more visual experience sometimes followed by intense bodily effects. 

 Have you had experience with both of these plants? Do you find they provide the same or different experiences to those who consume them? We’d love to hear about your experiences!

Anwar Hossain

My name is Anwar Hossain. I am a cactus lover, researcher, and cactus blogger.

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