Cereus jamacaru (Queen of the Night)
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.