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SELENICEREUS anthonyanus

Image of Selenicereus anthonyanus

Floriano Calcagnile, Wikimedia Commons Contributor

Family

Cactaceae

Botanical Name

SELENICEREUS anthonyanus

Plant Common Name

Fishbone Cactus, Ric Rac Orchid Cactus

Special Notice

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

General Description

When not in flower, the ric rac orchid cactus looks like a mop of green saw blades. This evergreen perennial succulent is native to the Mexican state of Chiapas, which abuts Guatemala. It is an epiphyte, growing on other plants, such as attached to tree limbs and trunk bark.

In order to conserve moisture, the ric rac orchid cactus lacks leaves. Instead, the flattened stems are bright green and photosynthesize light. The stem is leathery and thick with large leaf-like lobes or teeth. Each stem resembles the nose of a sawtooth shark. Areoles - the bumps from which spines arise - have two to four light brown spines. This succulent's stems trail, flop or hang from where aerial roots attach and anchor on the supporting plant.

In summer's warmth, mature ric rac orchid cactus produces its trumpet-like flowers. Buds arise directly on the stems, usually in the sinuses among the tooth-like lobes. The pale yellow and creamy white flowers are fragrant and are surrounded by deep reddish-rose segments. Moths pollinate these nighttime flowers, leading to formation of small scaled and spined fruits.

The ric rac orchid cactus needs very bright but mostly indirect light, ideally shielded from intense midday sun rays. Dappled light and partial shade prove best. Too much intense sunlight causes stems to become yellow-green. A plant may be wedged into tree limb crotches or hanging baskets. Alternatively, grow it so the aerial roots clasp into a mix of organic matter and sandy grit in containers. Water and fertilize freely from spring to fall but stop fertilizing and reduce watering drastically across the winter. Protect plants from frost whether indoors or out.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 10

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    11 - 15

  • Sunset Zone

    H1, H2, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Cactus or Succulent

  • Sun Exposure

    Partial Shade

  • Height

    18"-30" / 45.7cm - 76.2cm

  • Width

    5'-10' / 1.5m - 3.0m

  • Bloom Time

    Early Summer, Summer

  • Native To

    Mexico

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Neutral, Alkaline

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Tolerances

    Drought

  • Growth Rate

    Fast

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Spreading

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    White, Red, Light Yellow, Magenta, Rose, Dark Red

  • Flower Color Modifier

    Bicolor

  • Fruit Color

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green, Lime Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green, Lime Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Green, Lime Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Green, Lime Green

  • Fragrant Flowers

    Yes

  • Fragrant Fruit

    Yes

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Semi-Double

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    Yes

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    No

  • Evergreen

    Yes

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Container, Hanging Basket, Houseplant, Tropical

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    Yes

  • Invasive

    No

  • Self-Sowing

    No