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Epiphyllum anguliger – Fishbone Cactus, Moon Cactus


Scientific Name

Epiphyllum anguliger (Lem.) G.Don

Common Names

Fishbone Cactus, Moon Cactus, Zig Zag Cactus, Queen of the Night, Ric Rac Orchid Cactus


Epiphyllum darrahii, Phyllocactus anguliger, Phyllocactus darrahii

Scientific Classification

Family: Cactaceae
Subfamily: Cactoideae
Tribe: Hylocereeae
Genus: Epiphyllum


Epiphyllum anguliger is an epiphytic cactus with smooth green skin and extensively branched stems. The primary stems are often woody. Secondary stems are flat and succulent, up to 12 inches (30 cm) long, up to 2 inches (5 cm) wide, and deeply lobed. The lobes are rectangular or slightly rounded. The white or pale yellow flowers bloom nocturnally, exuding a strong, sweet scent. They are up to 8 inches (20 cm) long and up to 3 inches (7.5) cm wide. The fruit is up to 1.6 inches (4 cm) thick, ovoid and brownish, greenish or yellowish in color.

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How to Grow and Care

Epiphyllum are hardy to about 50°F (10°C), but require at least 60°F (15°C) during the growing season, so are best grown in a heated greenhouse, conservatory or indoors. Place the pots in bright, filtered light, with moderate to high humidity. To increase the humidity, position the pot on a tray filled with gravel and keep this topped up with water, but not enough so that the water reaches the surface. Epiphyllum cacti require sharply-drained growing media. Grow them in a standard cactus compost with added grit or perlite. Alternatively, mix three parts loam-based compost, with two parts grit or perlite and one part peat-free multipurpose compost.

Overlong stems can be cut off or shortened. New shoots will usually develop just behind the cut. However, be careful not to overwater after pruning as the plant's water requirements will be reduced. Large Epiphyllum can become unstable in their pots. Either repot in to a heavier pot, such as terracotta, or a wider container, such as a pan. Alternatively, try using canes and tying the stems up, but this can look unsightly… – See more at: How to Grow and Care for Epiphyllum.


Native to Mexico.


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