Thursday, November 3, 2011

Cereus jamacaru - One-night-flower - Maree

Cereus jamacaru (Queen of the Night)
Classification: Cactaceae

Referred to incorrectly as Cereus peruvianus in South Africa.

The Peruvian Apple Cactus, Cereus repandus, is a large, erect, thorny columnar cactus found in South America as well as the nearby ABC Islands of the Dutch Caribbean. It is also known as Giant Club Cactus, Hedge Cactus, cadushi and kayush. With an often tree-like appearance, the Peruvian Apple Cactus' cylindrical gray-green to blue stems can reach 10 meters (33 ft) in height and 10-20 cm in diameter.

It flowers only once a year, normally in June, and the beautiful white or pink nocturnal flowers, with an intoxicating scent, remain open for only one night. It has been declared an 'unwanted' alien invader here in South Africa due to its fast-spreading habit.

This cactus is growing next to our staff quarters and Solly, our Mechanic, was highly upset when I told him I intended chopping it down. He managed to convince me (not that it took too much convincing!) to let it stay, promising that he will keep an eye on it and not let it spread. But as this plant is also spread by birds eating the seeds, it's inevitable that I will soon be removing it.

There is actually great confusion over the name of this cactus, as the name Cereus is used for various cacti. The species name, peruvianus, suggests that it is endemic to Peru, but that is a botanical error. This plant is actually endemic to Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina.


  1. We have a very similar plant in Arizona called the "night-blooming Cereus" you did such a wonderful job on this that I knew what it was even from the thumbnail.

  2. Gee, that's wonderful, thanks a lot Teri! Yes, I'm sure it's the same thing, they're very specific looking, aren't they?

  3. We also have the night-blooming cereus in VA but it's considered a house plant. My mother had one for several years and when it was ready to bloom, she would call all her friends over for champagne and they would watch it open. Any excuse for a party! Lovely sketch Maree. Your place sounds wonderful. Is it a game preserve by any chance?

  4. Ah, thanks a lot Paula, and I agree, any excuse to celebrate! No, I do not live on a Game Reserve, but on an 8,5ha smallholding (21 acres or 10 morgen). We are situated right on the border of the Cradle of Humankind Heritage site and have many game reserves and game parks very close-by. Being out in the country certainly has it's draw-backs, like having to travel some way to a Mall, but the pleasure of having all the animals right on our doorstep outweighs that by far!


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