Key to Species

Climbing vines, the twigs with a short pair of reflexed spines from each areole, the stem with acicular spines (Series 1. Typicae) 1. P. pereskia

Shrub or trees with slender straight spines (Series 2. Grandifoliae). Petals toothed or fimbriate.

Petals somewhat toothed 2. P autumnalis

Petals fimbriate.

Species from Mexico; ovary turbinate 3. P lychnidiflora

Species from Costa Rica; ovary pyriform 4. P nicoyana

Petals entire, at least not fimbriate.

Branches and leaves very easily detached 5. P zehntneri

Branches and leaves not easily detached.

Axils of sepals bearing long hairs and bristles.

Leaves lanceolate 6. P sacharosa

Leaves orbicular 7. P moorei

Axils of sepals not bearing long hairs and bristles.

Flowers white 8. P weberiana

Flowers not white. Petals yellow.

Leaves lanceolate to oblong or obovate 9. P guamacho

Leaves orbicular or broadly ovate 10. P colombiana

Petals red or purple.

Spines few or none 11. P tampicana

Very spiny, at least on old branches. Flowers terminal. Flowers panicled.

Fruit naked, broadly truncate 12. P bleo

Fruit leaf-bearing, not truncate.

Leaves of ovary cuneate at base 13. P bahiensis

Leaves of ovary broad at base 14. P. grandifolia

Flowers solitary 15. P zinniaeflora

Flowers usually axillary and solitary.

Leaves 1 cm. long or longer, obtuse or acute.

Flowers 2 to 5 together, 1 cm. long; South American species 16. P horrida

Flowers solitary, 1.5 cm. long; petals elliptic-obovate; Cuban species 17. P. cubensis

Leaves emarginate, 1 cm. long or less, petals obovate 18. P portulacifolia

Affinity unknown 19. P. conzattii

Series 1. TYPICAE.

Consists of only the typical species, which is widely distributed, and much cultivated throughout tropical America. Schumann regarded it as a subgenus under the name Eupereskia.

1. Pereskia pereskia (Linnaeus) Karsten, Deutsch. Flora 888. 1882.

Cactus pereskia Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 469. 1753.

Pereskia aculeata Miller, Gard. Dict. ed. 8. 1768.

Cactus lucidus Salisbury, Prodr. 349. 1796.

Pereskia longispina Haworth, Syn. Pl. Succ. 178. 1812.

Pereskia aculeata longispina De Candolle, Prodr. 3: 475. 1828.

Pereskia fragrans Lemaire, Hort. Univ. 2: 40. 1841.

Pereskia undulata Lemaire, Illustr. Hort. 5: Misc. 11. 1858.

Pereskiafoetens Spegazzini in Weingart, Monatsschr. Kakteenk. 14: 134. 1904.

Pereskia godseffiana Sander, Gard. Chron. III. 43: 257. 1908.

Shrub, at first erect, but the branches often long, clambering, and forming vines 3 to 10 meters long; spines on lower part of stem solitary or 2 or 3 together, slender and straight; spines in the axils of the leaves paired, rarely in threes, short, recurved; leaves short-petioled, lanceolate to oblong, or ovate, short-acuminate at the apex, tapering or rounded at base, 7 cm. long or less; flowers in panicles or corymbs, white, pale yellow, or pinkish, 2.5 to 4.5 cm. broad; ovary leafy and often spiny; fruit light yellow, 1.5 to 2 cm. in diameter, when mature quite smooth; seeds black, somewhat flattened, 4 to 5 mm. in diameter; hilum basal, circular, depressed,, or crater-shaped.

The plant and fruit have several common names, one of which, blade apple, was in use as early as 1697. Lemon vine, Barbados gooseberry, and West Indian gooseberry are three others, with various French and Dutch modifications. In Argentina it is called sacharosa, according to Sir Joseph Hooker (Curtis's Bot. Mag. 116: pl. 7147), but this name is properly applied only to the P. sacharosa of Grisebach, native of Argentina, a distinct species, which

Hooker thought identical with this.

The berries are eaten throughout the West Indies and the leaves are used as a pot herb in Brazil. The species was in cultivation in the Royal Gardens of Hampton Court in 1696 and has been at Kew ever since its establishment in 1760, but did not flower until 1889. In Washington we have one plant among a dozen which flowers abundantly each year; three plants at New York bloom annually.

In tropical America the plant climbs over walls, rocks, and trees, and at flowering time is covered with showy, fragrant blossoms, followed by beautiful clusters of yellow berries. In La Plata it is grown sometimes for hedges (see fig. 1), but its strong, almost offensive odor makes it objectionable for growing near habitations.

Type locality: Tropical America.

Distribution: West Indies and along the east and north coasts of South America; found also in Florida and Mexico, but perhaps only as an escape; widely grown for its fruit.

This species consists of several races, differing in shape and size of the leaves and in color of the flowers. One of these races, with ovate-orbicular leaves rounded at the base, had heretofore been known to us only in cultivation, but in October 1916, while collecting in Venezuela, Dr. Rose found this broad-leafed form common in the coastal thickets near Puerto Cabello.

Pereskia lanceolata (Förster, Handb. Cact. 513. 1846), P. acardia Parmentier (Pfeiffer, Enum. Cact. 176. 1837), and P. brasiliensis Pfeiffer (Enum. Cact. 176. 1837), usually referred as synonyms of P. aculeata, were not formally published in the places above cited.

The following varieties, based on the shape of the leaves, are recorded under P. aculeata: lanceolata Pfeiffer (Enum. Cact. 176. 1837); latifolia Salm-Dyck (Hort. Dyck. 202. 1834, name only); rotundifolia Pfeiffer (Enum. Cact. 176. 1837); rotunda (Suppl. Dict. Gard. Nicholson 589. 1901) is perhaps the same as rotundifolia.

Pereskia aculeata rubescens Pfeiffer (Enum. Cact. 176. 1837) is described with glaucous-green leaves above, tinged with red beneath.

Near the last belongs Pereskia godseffiana, described as a sport in the Gardeners' Chronicle in 1908. It is a very attractive greenhouse plant, often forming a round, densely





M. E. Eaton del,

1. Flowering branch of Pereskia pereskia. 2, 3. Fruits of the same.

4. Leafy branch of Pereskia sacharosa.

5. Proliferous fruit of the same.

(All natural size.)

branched bush, but is sometimes grown as a climber, as a basket plant, or in the form of a pyramid. It is especially distinguished by the rich coloration of the leaves, which are variously mottled or blotched above with crimson, apricot-yellow, and green, but of a uniform purplish crimson beneath. We have seen this form in the New York Botanical Garden, where it is grown only as a bush. It was exhibited first at Ghent, Belgium, in 1908, and is supposed to have originated in Queensland, Australia.

Illustrations: Stand. Cycl. Hort. Bailey 5: pl. 87; Blühende Kakteen 2: pl. 86; Bot. Reg. 23: Pl. 1928; Curtis's Bot. Mag. 116: pl. 7147; Gard. Chron. III. 29: f. 61; Plumier, Nov. Pl. Amer. pl. 26, in part; Safford, Ann. Rep. Smiths. Inst. 1908: f. 10; Schumann, Gesamtb.

Fig. 2.—Pereskia autumnalis.

Kakteen f. 109, all as P. aculeata. Descourtilz, Pl. Med. Antill. ed. 2.4: pl. 294, as Cac-tier a Fruits Feuilles; Vellozo, Fl. Flum. 5: pl. 26, as Cactus pereskia; Gard. Chron. III. 43: f. 114, as P. godseffiana.

Plate 11, figure 1, of this volume is a flowering branch of a plant at the New York Botanical Garden obtained from M. Simon, of St. Ouen, Paris, France, in 1901; figure 2, fruit of same plant; figure 3, fruit of another plant. Text-figure 1, from a photograph taken by Paul G. Russell at La Plata, Argentina, in September 1915, shows the plant used as a hedge.


In this series we include 18 species, all tropical American, both continental and insular. Schumann, regarding the series as a subgenus, applied to it the name Ahoplocarpus.

2. Pereskia autumnalis (Eichlam) Rose, Contr. U. S. Nat. Herb. 12: 399. 1909.

Pereskiopsis autumnalis Eichlam, Monatsschr. Kakteenk. 19: 22. 1909. Tree, 6 to 9 meters high, with a large, round, much branched top, the trunk usually very definite and 40 cm. or more in diameter, often covered with a formidable array of spines; young branches cherry-brown, smooth; spines in the axils of the leaves usually solitary, sometimes in threes, long and slender, 3 to 4 cm., rarely 16 cm. long; leaves thickish, oblong to orbicular, 4 to 8 cm. long, rounded or somewhat narrowed at base, mucronately tipped; flowers solitary, near the tops of the branches, short-peduncled; ovary covered with leafy scales; flowers 4 to 5 cm. broad; petals entire, orange-colored; stamens numerous; fruit globular, 4 to 5 cm. in diameter, fleshy, glabrous, bearing small, scattered leaves, these naked in the axils; seeds black, glossy, 4 mm. long.

Type locality: In Guatemala.

Distribution: Widely distributed in Guatemala, usually at an altitude of 120 to 300 meters; but we do not know of its occurrence elsewhere.

Fig. 3.—Pereskia autumnalis. X0.5. Fig. 4.—Pereskia lychnidiflora.

^e plant, so far as we know, has no common name and no use is made of its fruit. Illustrations: Contr. U. S. Nat. Herb. 12: pl. 52 to 54; Safford, Ann. Rep. Smiths. Inst. 1908: pl. 10, f. 1; Monatsschr. Kakteenk. 21: 37, the last as Pereskiopsis autumnalis.

Text-figures 2 and 3 are copied from the above-cited illustrations. ^e original photographs were obtained by 0. F. Cook in Guatemala.

3. Pereskia lychnidiflora De Candolle, Prodr. 3: 475. 1828,

Evidently a tree or shrub; branches cylindric, woody-; leaves large, 4 to 7 cm. long, oval to oblong, pointed, rounded at base, sessile, fleshy, with a prominent midvein; axils of leaves each bearing a stout spine 2 to 5 cm. long and several long hairs; flowers large, 6 cm. broad, solitary, borne at the ends of short, stout branches; petals broadly cuneate, laciniate at the apex; ovary turbinate, bearing small leaves.

Type locality: In Mexico. Distribution: Mexico.

This species was described by De Candolle from Mocino and Sessé's drawing, but it has never been collected since, so far as we can learn. Its large flowers with laciniate petals must make this a very striking species and it is surprising that it has not been rediscovered. Schumann thought it might be the same as P. nicoyana of Costa Rica, but a study of recent Costa Rican collections indicates that the species are distinct. The measurements given in the description are taken from De Candolle's plate, and may require some modification. Cactus fimbriatus Mocino and Sessé (De Candolle, Prodr. 3: 475. 1828) was published only as a synonym of this species.

Illustrations: Mém. Mus. Hist. Nat. Paris 17: pl. 18; Förster, Handb. Cact. ed. 2. 1003. f. 136; Safford, Ann. Rep. Smiths. Inst. 1908: 545. f. 11.

Text-figure 4 is copied from the first illustration above cited.

4. Pereskia nicoyana Weber, Bull. Mus. Hist. Nat. Paris 8: 468. 1902.

Tree, usually about 8 meters high; branches rigid, stout, covered with smooth brown bark; spines wanting or single, long (4 cm. long), stout and porrect; leaves in fascicles on old branches, but alternate on young shoots, lanceolate or oblanceolate, subsessile, the lateral veins almost parallel and sometimes seeming to come from the base, acute, bright green, and somewhat shining; axils of the young leaves containing long white hairs; petals reddish yellow, fimbriate; ovary pyriform, bearing 8 to 12 spreading leaves, except the uppermost ones, which are much smaller and connivent.

Type locality: Gulf of Nicoya, Costa Rica.

Distribution: Costa Rica.

The spines, hairs in the axils of the leaves, and fimbriate petals indicate a relationship to the little-known P. lychnidiflora.

Mr. H. Pittier informs us that this species is common in the open coastal forests along the Pacific side of Costa Rica. The plant illustrated by Mr. Pittier, referred to below, has a long, slender trunk and is very spiny.

According to Mr. W. E. Safford, it has long, slender spines and the habit of the Osage orange, and is used as a hedge plant in Costa Rica, where it is known as matéare or puipute.

Illustration: Pittier, Pl. Usuales Costa Rica pl. 2.

Text-figure 5 was drawn from a plant obtained by Mr. C. Wercklé at San José, Costa Rica, in 1912.

Fig. 5.—Pereskia nicoyana. X0.6.

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