Espostoa lanata is a columnar type cactus belonging to the genus Espostoa and the family Cactaceae. The genus name honors Peruvian botanist Nicolas E. Esposto. The specific epithet, lanata, means woolly.
Peruvian Old Man Cactus is quite similar to another columnar cactus known as the Old Man Cactus (Cephalocereus senilis), and care instructions for these two types of cactus are interchangeable. When young, this cactus grows very rapidly. When it reaches two years of age, growth slows quite a bit. While it is still young, Woolish Espostoa grows as a strictly columnar plant. As it matures, it may begin to branch out. Outdoors, Peruvian Old Man Cactus grows to be about 8” inches in diameter and as high as 23’ feet tall. If kept indoors, growth will naturally be somewhat controlled. Peruvian old man cactus is covered by a thick, woolly coat of white hair. This outer covering is so soft that people in Peru have actually used it as a filling for pillows.