Escontria Chiotilla - Chiotilla / Jiotilla Cactus
A native to Mexico and the only member of its genus, Escontria Chiotilla is a tree-like cactus that can reach up to 7m tall, with a many-branched crown. Stems can have up to 8 prominent ribs, around 20cm in diameter, that begin to branch from a main column. Branches continue to be columnar. The ribs have very close aeroles, with multiple white spines surrounding a central spine up to around 7cm long and rigid. Flowers are the traditional trumpet shape of most cactus flowers, green-yellow in colour, around 10cm long.
The fruits grow on the youngest branches, spherical in shape, up to 5cm in diameter, starting green and ripening to a deep purple, with paper-like scales giving it the apperance of a strange small pineapple! The fruit is edible, said to have a flavour similar to gooseberry, and is sold in Mexican markets. Fruits can be eaten raw, or cooked into jams, ice creams or juices.
Frost tender, should be kept above 0°C at all times.