Do you like exotic fruit and flowers? Meet a species of the cereus cactus with fruit straight out of a Jim Woodring cartoon and very large white flowers that bloom for just one night.
This cereus, hylocereus undatus, is a scrawny looking cactus with long, gangly, snaky branches. The branches are trifold, meaning they are flat and with three angles – if you cut the branch it is a 3 pointed star just like the Mercedes logo. Younger plants have just flat branches, and wild specimens are often joined by thin, green or brown with bark, branchlets. The gorgeous, huge blooms appear just once or twice a year and open for a single night to attract pollinating moths. A native from Mexico to northern South America, this cereus is now found in tripical and subtropical parts of the whole world. Its flowers are among the largest of all flowering cactuses.
And it gives us dragonfruit! Read on to learn more about this fascinating plant.
After the flower: cereus fruit are called dragonfruit
If in the course of the single night that it blooms the flower was successful in attracting moths and becoming pollinated, it will bear a fruit commonly called dragonfruit. Dragonfruit are football shaped and range in size from about 5 to 8 inches long. They are dark pink and have distinctive fins tipped in green. In botany these are called