Hylocereus polyrhizus Weber

Cereus polyrhizus Weber in Schumann, Gesamtb. Kakteen 151. 1897.

Slender vines, sometimes only 3 to 4 cm. thick, normally 3-angled, at first green or purplish, but soon becoming white and afterwards green again; ribs or wings comparatively thin although in age becoming more turgid; margin nearly straight, obtuse, not horny; spines 2 to 4, rather stout, brownish, 2 to 4 mm. long, sometimes accompanied by two white hairs or bristles which finally drop off; young flower-buds globular, purple; flowers 2.5 to 3 dm. long or longer, strongly fragrant; outer perianth-segments linear-lanceolate, more or less reddish, especially at the tips; inner perianth-segments nearly white; stigma-lobes rather short, yellowish, entire; ovary covered with approximate ovate scales, with red or deep purple margins; fruit scarlet, oblong, 10 cm. long.

Type locality: Colombia.

Distribution: Colombia and Panama.

The original description of Cereus polyrhizus was, apparently, based on the juvenile state of the species for the branches are described as 5-angled; Weingart (Monatsschr. Kakteenk. 22: 106) associates the plant with the group in which we place it, and plants sent to the New York Botanical Garden in 1901 by M. Simon of St. Ouen, Paris, who had in his collection many cacti described by Weber, are, apparently, the same as others since obtained from Panama and Colombia; perhaps also from Ecuador.

We have referred here the 3 specimens collected by Dr. Rose in Ecuador although we are not sure that these are even conspecific. They all grow in very diverse habitats; only one was seen in flower. No. 221116 was found growing closely appressed to the trunk of a tree to which it was so tightly attached that it was with difficulty that specimens were obtained. The locality was on the edge of the mangrove swamp near Guayaquil. In the same region were seen other plants, presumably of the same species but these were clambering from tree to tree high up in their tops and far out of reach. No. 23342 was in a very peculiar habitat for a Hylocereus. It came from the edge of the Catamayo Valley, a hot semiarid region; Its stems were very stout, almost woody, and were spread out all over the top of a small tree. No flowers or fruit were seen and only a single plant was observed. The branches were nearly 10 cm. broad and the brown spines were usually 4 in a cluster and nearly 1 cm. long. On the other hand No. 23396 was found in a habitat very suitable for a Hylocereus; this was in a tree along a stream east of Portovelo in southern Ecuador; the plant was in flower but almost out of reach so that it was with difficulty we obtained a single flower. The following brief notes are based on our field observations:

Stems 3-angled, whitish; flowers 31 cm. long, fragrant; outermost segments short, purple; outer scales oblong, orange-red; inner perianth-segments white, tinged with pink; stamens yellow; scales on the ovary oblong, acute, dull green, with purple margins.

5a. Hylocereus venezuelensis sp. nov. (See Appendix, p. 226.)

6. Hylocereus costaricensis (Weber) Britton and Rose, Contr. U. S. Nat. Herb. 12: 428. 1909.

Cereus trigonus costaricensis Weber, Bull. Mus. Hist. Nat. Paris 8: 457. 1902.

Vigorous vines, perhaps the stoutest of the genus, sometimes 10 cm. broad, normally, 3-angled, at first green or purplish, but soon becoming white and afterwards green or gray; ribs or wings comparatively thin although in age becoming more turgid; margin rather variable, either straight or somewhat undulate, obtuse, never horny; spines 2 to 4, short, rather stout, brownish, usually accompanied by two white hairs or bristles which finally drop off; young flower-buds globular, purple; flowers 3 dm. long or more, strongly fragrant; outer perianth-segments narrow, more or less reddish, especially the tips; inner perianth-segments pure white; stigma-lobes rather short, yellowish, entire; ovary covered with closely set scales, these having deep purple margins; fruit scarlet, oblong, 10 cm. long.

Fig. 262.—Ovary of Hylocereus costaricensis transformed into branch. X0.94.

Type locality: Costa Rica.

Distribution: Costa Rica.

This species was originally described as a variety of Cereus trigonus, but it has much stouter blue stems and is otherwise different. It grows well in cultivation and frequently, flowers. The very young areoles on the stem produce an abundance of nectar which runs down the stem in large sticky drops.

Figure 262 represents an arrested flower transformed into a branch showing scales or reduced leaves from the lower areoles.

Hylocereus Trigonus

Flower and end of branch of Hylocereus ocamponis. X 0.7.

Flower and end of branch of Hylocereus ocamponis. X 0.7.

7. Hylocereus undatus (Haworth) Britton and Rose in Britton, Flora Bermuda 256. 1918.

Cactus triangularis aphyllus Jacquin, Stirp. Amer. 152. 1763.

Cereus triangularis major De Candolle, Prodr. 3: 468. 1828.

Cereus undatus Haworth, Phil. Mag. 7: 110. 1830.

Cereus tricoostatus Gosselin, Bull. Soc. Bot. France 54: 664. 1907.

Hylocereus tricostatus Britton and Rose, Contr. U. S. Nat. Herb. 12: 429. 1909.

Stem long, clambering over bushes and trees or creeping up the sides of walls; ribs mostly 3, broad, thin, green; margin usually strongly undulate, more or less horny in age; areoles 3 to 4 cm. apart; spines 1 to 3, small, 2 to 4 mm. long; flowers up to 29 cm. long or more; outer perianth-segments yellowish green, all turned back, some strongly reflexed; inner perianth-segments pure white, erect, broad, oblanceolate, entire, with apiculate tips; filaments slender, cream-colored; stigma-lobes as many as 24, slender, entire, cream-colored; style stout, 7 to 8 mm. in diameter, cream-colored; fruit oblong, 10 to 12 cm. in diameter, red, covered with large foliaceous scales, or nearly smooth when mature, edible: seeds black.

Type locality: China, evidently in cultivation.

Distribution: Common throughout the tropics and subtropics; often found as an escape and widely cultivated.

This species has long been known in cultivation under the name of Cereus triangularis, and it is to be regretted that the name triangularis can not be retained, but the plant which Linnaeus described as Cactus triangularis came from Jamaica. The latter is now well known to botanists but it has never been much cultivated, while H. undatus is grown all over the world and grows half-wild in all tropical countries. It is the best known of all the night-blooming cereuses and has one of the largest flowers. It makes a beautiful hedge plant; in Honolulu there is a hedge about Punahou College which is half a mile long and is said to produce 5,000 flowers in a single night.

Cereus undatus was described by Haworth from plants sent from China; he says it is similar to C. triangularis, but twice as large. Pfeiffer afterwards made it his variety major of C. triangularis, which Schumann referred doubtfully to C. napoleonis.

In the New York Botanical Garden herbarium are specimens of a Hylocereus collected on Martinique in 1884 by Père Duss (No. 904), which have the horny-margined ribs and large white flowers of this species. From this island Jacquin in 1763 described a variety aphyllus of Cactus triangularis from the mountain forests, which may very likely be this species, in which case Martinique may be the home of this widely cultivated plant.

Two forms of this species are common in Yucatan. One is called chacoub; it has white flowers except that the perianth-segments have purple edges and tips; the fruit is globular and reddish purple. The other form called zacoub has white flowers and oblong and creamy-white fruit; these fruits are considered among the most desirable in Yucatan and are often to be found in the markets for sale.

Illustrations: Safford, Ann. Rep. Smiths. Inst. 1908: pl. 6, f. 1, as Hylocereus tricostatus; Martius, Fl. Bras. 42: pl. 42 Engler and Prantl, Pflanzenfam. 36a: f. 57, A, B;

Fig. 263.—Hylocereus undatus.

Edwards's Bot. Reg. 21: pl. 1807; Gard. Mag. 55: 689, all as Cereus triangularis; Curtis's Bot. Mag. 44: pl. 1884; Loudon, Encycl. Pl. f. 6870, as Cactus triangularis; Ann. Rep. Smiths. Inst. 1917: pl. 10; Scientific Monthly 5: 287, as night-blooming cereus; Britton, Flora Bermuda 1. 278.

Plate xxx shows a flowering joint of a plant brought by Dr. Small from southern Florida to the New York Botanical Garden in 1903, where it has since bloomed every year; plate

Hulocereus Triangularis
Fig. 264.—Hylocereus undatus.

xxxii, figure 1, shows a fruiting joint of a plant in the same collection brought from Tehu-acan, Mexico, by Dr. MacDougal and Dr. Rose in 1906. Figure 263 is from a photograph taken by Paul G. Russell at Machado Portella, Bahia, Brazil, in 1915; figure 264 is from a photograph by A. S. Hitchcock, 1918, showing a hedge of night-blooming cereus on a wall at Punahou College, Honolulu; the picture was taken early in the morning; the preceding evening the hedge was viewed by hundreds of people. The plant, in Honolulu, comes in full flower only once or twice a year and is then a marvelous sight.

Fig. 265.—Hylocereus cubensis. X0.66.

Fig. 265.—Hylocereus cubensis. X0.66.

8. Hylocereus cubensis sp. nov.

Stems slender, much elongated, freely rooting, 3-angled, dull green, 2 to 4 cm. in diameter; margin of joints scarcely crenate, becoming horny; spines 3 to 5, black, conic, 2 to 3 mm. long; flowers large, white, about 20 cm. long; ovary bearing large leafy scales; fruit a little longer than broad, 10 cm. long, reddish.

Cactus Family

Flower on short branch of Hylocereus monacanthus. (Natural size.)

Collected by Brother Leon on a wall, Jata Hills, near Guanabacoa, Province of Habana, Cuba, July 14, 1913 (No. 37 19). Living specimens were introduced into the New York Botanical Garden which flowered in September 1917. We are disposed to refer here J. A. Shafer's No. 13931 from lime rocks at Portales, Province of Pinar del Rio, Cuba. A plant from the Isle of Pines sent to us by 0. E. Jennings probably belongs here, but the poor specimen which we have seen does not enable us to definitely refer it to this species.

Figure 265 shows a section of a branch of the type specimen.

9. Hylocereus lemairei (Hooker) Britton and Rose, Contr. U. S. Nat. Herb. 12: 428. 1909.

Cereus lemairei* Hooker in Curtis's Bot. Mag. 80: pl. 4814. 1854.

Cereus trinitatensis Lemaire and Herment, Rev. Hort. IV. 8: 642. 1859.

A somewhat slender, high-climbing vine; joints 3-angled, freely rooting on one side, 2 to 3 cm. in diameter, plain green; margins with slight elevations at the areoles; areoles 2 to 2.5 cm. apart; spines usually 2, very short, swollen at base, brownish; flower-buds elongated, acuminate; flower about 27 cm. long; tube, including ovary, 15 cm. long; scales on ovary and lower part of the tube ovate, dark green, with the margins and tips deep purple; scales on upper part of the tube much elongated, but marked like the lower ones; outer perianth-segments about 20, 12 cm. long, 1 cm. wide or less; edges slightly upturned, widely spreading or reflexed, yellowish green, sometimes a little purplish at the tip and the inner one somewhat rose-colored at the base; inner perianth-segments about 15, mostly oblanceolate, 3.5 cm. broad at the widest portion, acute, the lower portion pinkish, above nearly pure white; filaments cream-colored, about three-fourths the length of the inner perianth-segments; style thick, nearly as long as the inner perianth-segments; stigma-lobes cleft to the middle and the branches often notched at tip; flower somewhat odorous, not very pleasing; fruit purple, oblong, 6 to 7 cm. long, when mature splitting down the center almost to the base into 2 nearly equal parts and exposing the white flesh and black seeds.

Type locality: Not cited.

Distribution: Trinidad and Tobago. Perhaps also Surinam.

The above description was based upon specimens sent by Mr. Wm. Broadway in 1907 from Trinidad, which flowered in the New York Botanical Garden in July and August 1912 (No. 27689). Our reference (Contr. U. S. Nat. Herb. 12: 428) of this species to Antigua and doubtfully to Culebra and Porto Rico, in which we followed previous authors, can not be supported by specimens in our collections.

This is a very beautiful species which has long been in cultivation, but the native home of which, until recently, has not been known. In 1909, Mr. Broadway sent specimens from Trinidad which soon flowered, enabling us to identify it definitely. Sir Joseph Hooker, under Cereus lemairei in Curtis's Botanical Magazine, volume 80, plate 4814, says, "Nothing is positively known of its native country; but it happens that I have in my possession a drawing made in Antigua, undoubtedly of this species; so that it is probably a native of that island." A copy of this drawing is now in the United States National Herbarium, and shows quite a different species from Cereus lemairei, and may represent the Hylocereus collected in the spring of 1913 on Antigua by Dr. Rose (No. 3297), of which we have both herbarium and living specimens, but the drawing is without stem and Dr. Rose's specimens were without flowers; however, it may be that Hooker's drawing is of a flower of the commonly cultivated H. undatus.

This is one of the few species of cacti having bifid stigma-lobes.

Illustration: Curtis's Bot. Mag. 80: pl. 4814, as Cereus lemairei.

Plate xxxi is from Mr. Broadway's Trinidad plant which flowered in the New York

Botanical Garden Figure 266 shows its style and stigma-lobes

Fig. 266.—Stigma-lobes of H. lemairei. X0.7.

* Cereus lemoinei (Möllers Deutsche Gärt. Zeit. 6: 92. 1891) may be only a misspelling of this name.

Continue reading here: Hylocereus monacanthus Lemaire

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