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Acanthocereus tetragonus (Triangle Cactus)

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Scientific Name

Acanthocereus tetragonus (L.) Hummelinck

Common Names

Barbed Wire Cactus, Dildo Cactus, Night-blooming Cereus, Triangle Cactus, Sword Pear

Synonyms

Acanthocereus colombianus, Acanthocereus floridanus, Acanthocereus pentagonus, Acanthocereus pitajaya, Acanthocereus princeps, Cactus pentagonus, Cactus pitajaya, Cactus prismaticus, Cactus reptans, Cactus tetragonus, Cereus dussii, Cereus nitidus, Cereus pentagonus, Cereus pitajaya, Cereus princeps, Cereus prismaticus, Cereus reptans, Cereus tetragonus, Cereus undulatus, Cereus variabilis, Cereus vasmerii

Scientific Classification

Family: Cactaceae
Subfamily: Cactoideae
Tribe: Echinocereeae
Genus: Acanthocereus

Description

Acanthocereus tetragonus is a columnar cactus, up to 23 feet (7 m) tall, with dark green stems with usually 3 to 4 angles and up to 3 inches (8 cm) in diameter. Areoles are grey and up to 1.2 inches (3 cm) from each other. Central areoles have 1 to 2 (sometimes 3) up to 1.6 inches (4 cm) long spines. Radial areoles have 6 to 8 (sometimes up to 10) up to 1 inch (2.5 cm) long spines. Flowers are up to 8 inches (20 cm) in diameter with a tube up to 6 inches (15 cm) long. Outer tepals are greenish-white, inner tepals are pure white and pistils are creamy white. Shiny, red fruits are up to 2 inches (5 cm) long.

Photo via karenmelody.com

Hardiness

USDA hardiness zones 9a to 11b: from 20 °F (−6.7 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).

How to Grow and Care

Like most cacti, Cereus are fairly, low-maintenance and hardy. Make sure they receive enough water without becoming waterlogged, especially during the summer and fertilize them for best results. If the roots have become black or overly soft, the cactus could be experiencing root rot. Cut away the affected parts and replant. Most gardeners interested in cacti should be able to cultivate these without much problem.

It may become necessary to repot your Cereus if it outgrows its container. If so, make sure the soil is dry and then remove the pot. Knock away old soil and prune away any rotted or dead roots, then replace it in a new pot and backfill with new soil. Make sure not to overwater cacti planted in new pots, as this can lead to root rot. It should be left dry for about a week and then watered lightly.

These cacti propagate quite easily from cuttings. Simply sever a branch and replant in moist, well-drained soil.

Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Cereus.

Origin

Acanthocereus tetragonus is native to Southern Florida and the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas in the United States, Mexico, Central America, Caribbean, and northern South America.

Subspecies, Varieties, Forms, Cultivars and Hybrids

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