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Hylocereus



Rooting Hylocereus undatus cuttings


     Hylocereus is a genus of long stemmed climbing cacti from Mexico and Central America. Some are ephiphytic but the terrestrial species can reach heights of 30 feet or more climbing up through the branches of a tree. The nocturnal flowers are usually white, but one species, Hylocereus stenopterus has red flowers. They are very large, up to 12 inches across. Most species also produce large edible fruits.
     I only have one Hylocereus so we'll discuss it here until I acquire another species. Hylocereus undatus is of unknown origin. It may even be a hybrid. The plant produces segmented three winged stems that undulate along the ribs. Individual stems can get as long as 16 feet if the plant can grow up into a tree with it's aerial roots. Flowers are white with greenish outer petals. The scaly red fruit is commonly known as "Dragon Fruit". The delicious pulp is eaten chilled or used to flavor drinks and pastries. I've also read the flower buds can be cooked and eaten like a vegetable. The plant is also commonly used as stock for grafting other cacti.
     The cuttings above are mainly from grafts that failed or produced branches. I'm trying to cultivate it mostly for the flowers, but the edible fruit is also a plus. I'll probably hang this potfull under the tree where I would like to plant some. Once it produces some stouter longer branches I'll put some in the ground at the base of the tree.
     Geoff Stein, who calls himself Palmbob on the Davesgarden.com gardening forums, has allowed me to use his pictures. Thanks Geoff :-) Below is a healthy specimen growing in California and a pic of the flower. Also check out a gallery of Geoffs other pics in the Photo Galleries/Friends section.

A nice one
climbing a post
The magnificent
flower
All images and text are copyright 2006-7 D.S. Franges, unless otherwise noted.