from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A columnar cactus of the genus Cereus, the stems of some species of which have been used by the Indians for torches. Sometimes the name is extended to the whole genus.


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • The plantation of Salem was in a region below the Pedro Plains in the parish of St. Elizabeth, where grow the aloe, and torch-thistle, and clumps of wood which alter the appearance of the plain from the South

    The Project Gutenberg Complete Works of Gilbert Parker

  • The first was built in the lobe of a torch-thistle as thick as my leg; the second rested on a stalk of the opuntia, the Indian fig. Had the fierce armour of these two stout cactuses attracted the attention of the insect, which looked upon their tufts of spikes as furnishing a system of defence for its nest?

    Bramble-Bees and Others


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  • "'I particularly admire the tall straight cactus,' said Stephen.

    "'We call 'em torch-thistles,' said the master, 'and they have a kind of juice, if you cut them down, that can be drank; but it gives you the wet gripes.'"

    --Patrick O'Brian, The Far Side of the World, 269

    February 23, 2008