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Cereus jamacaru (Pleated Cereus)

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Scientific Name

Cereus jamacaru DC.

Common Names

Pleated Cereus, locally known as Mandacaru or Cardeiro

Synonyms

Acanthocereus horribarbis, Cactus jamacaru, Cereus horribarbis, Cereus jamacaru var. caesius, Cereus jamacaru var. glaucus, Cereus uruguayensis, Piptanthocereus jamacaru

Scientific Classification

Family: Cactaceae
Subfamily: Cactoideae
Tribe: Cereeae
Genus: Cereus

Origin

Native to the Northeast Region of Brazil.

Description

Cereus jamacaru is a tree-like cactus, up to 33 feet (10 m) tall, with thick, usually erect branches that arise from a short woody trunk. The main stem is up to 6.6 feet (2 m) tall and up to 2 feet (60 cm) in diameter. Branches are blue-green, up to 6 inches (15 cm) in diameter, with 4 to 6 ribs and 10 to 30 yellow to brown, up to 0.8 inches (2 cm) long spines per areole. Flowers are white, up to 12 inches (30 cm) long, up to 8 inches (20 cm) in diameter, appear in spring and last one night only. Edible fruits are fleshy, pink to red berries that are up to 4.8 inches (12 cm) long and up to 3.2 inches (8 cm) in diameter. They contain a delicious white pulp with black seeds.

The specific epithet "jamacaru" is believed to be derived from the indigenous Tupi word "mandacarú," meaning "spiny bundle."

How to Grow and Care for Cereus jamacaru

Light: Cereus cacti like full sun. They can handle partial shade but thrives during the summer in direct sunlight. Sunny south, east, or west window is a good spot to grow a Cereus indoors.

Soil: These cacti do not like to have "wet feet" and need to be grown in well-draining soil. Use commercial soil mixes for cacti and succulents or make your own potting mix.

Hardiness: Cereus jamacaru can withstand temperatures as low as 25 to 50 °F (-3.9 to 10 °C), USDA hardiness zones 9b to 11b.

Watering: From spring to fall, during the active growth period water thoroughly, but allow the soil to dry out before watering again. With the arrival of fall, gradually reduce the watering frequency.

Fertilizing: During their growing season, Cereus cacti like regular fertilizing. A balanced, water-soluble fertilizer, which has been diluted to 1/4 strength, can be added to the water for each watering. Do not feed during the winter.

Repotting: While Cereus cacti are young, it is recommended to repot each year in early spring to provide them with fresh soil, inspect the root system, and move them to larger pots if necessary.

Propagation: Using stem cuttings is the easiest method to propagate Cereus because seed propagation is a slow process.

Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Cereus.

Toxicity of Cereus jamacaru

Cereus cacti are non-toxic to humans or animals.

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