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CEREUS jamacaru

Image of Cereus jamacaru

James H. Schutte

Family

Cactaceae

Botanical Name

CEREUS jamacaru

Plant Common Name

Mandacaru, Night-blooming Cactus, Pleated Cereus

Special Notice

This entry has yet to be reviewed and approved by L2G editors.

General Description

While grown for its foot-long (30 cm) nocturnal flowers, mandacarĂº is a large-growing, tree-like cactus. It is native to northeastern Brazil and is quite variable in form, size and presence of spines. Grow it as a houseplant when young, but expect it to become a huge, heavy plant specimen.

MandacarĂº is a rather fast growing and upright with numerous vertical branches. There are no leaves, but the green stems photosynthesize sunlight. There are four to six ribs on each stem, and clusters of yellow spines may or may not occur on aereoles on the ribs. Its summertime, large, white flowers are tubular, many petaled and night blooming, though they will remain open up until the early morning hours. They are fragrant and may be pollinated by bats and moths. They give way to large egg-shaped, purple-violet, smooth-skinned fruits packed with sweet white flesh and tiny black, crunchy seeds. The fruit is edible and tastes like watermelon (if you can get to it before the birds and bats do).

This cactus is for hot, dry conditions but performs better if some irrigation occurs in the heat of summer. Keep the soil very dry in winter. Do not plant outdoors in regions that receive hard freezes each winter, even though mandacarĂº tolerates some frost. Grow it as a massive vertical accent in a xeriscape garden or desert rockery. When small, grow it as a containerized houseplant.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 10

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    10 - 15

  • Sunset Zone

    H2, 13, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Cactus or Succulent

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun

  • Height

    25'-40' / 7.6m - 12.2m

  • Width

    10'-18' / 3.0m - 5.5m

  • Bloom Time

    Early Summer

  • Native To

    South America, Brazil

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral, Alkaline

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Tolerances

    Drought

  • Growth Rate

    Fast

  • Water Requirements

    Xeric/Desert, Drought Tolerant

  • Habit

    Upright/Erect

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    White

  • Fruit Color

    Purple, Violet

  • Bark Color

    Green, Light Green, Olive

  • Fragrant Flowers

    Yes

  • Fragrant Fruit

    Yes

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    Yes

  • Edible Fruit

    Yes

  • Showy Foliage

    No

  • Evergreen

    Yes

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Container, Feature Plant, Houseplant, Rock Garden / Wall

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    Yes

  • Invasive

    No

  • Attracts

    Birds

  • Self-Sowing

    No