Night Blooming Cactus; ID Help

indiana_ron(6)September 18, 2010

This cactus bloomed for me and the universe (the only two that saw it) on the night of September 13th, this past Monday. The next day it closed up and did not open again; talk about "the fragile duration of a flower."!

Can anyone here offer a firm identification? Or is that even possible with these cacti? Web research has made me dizzy. As soon as I think I find a good ID, I find another species with identical images.

Five ribs. Seven spines; longest one inch. Flower seven inches wide with no fragrance.

Thanks so much. Ron

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I think this article partially explains why it is so difficult to assign a name to these plants:

Here is a link that might be useful: Daiv's view

    Bookmark   September 18, 2010 at 2:13AM
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psuperb1(9 Tucson)

I'm not sure a firm ID is possible. I also went down the road on same wild goose chase. Please see link below. I'm suggesting Cereus peruvianus.

I would also click on the "Cacti Articles" button near top of page and read Cereus Peruvianus -The Least and Best Known Cactus and More About Cereus Peruvianus.

I hope I'm not steering you wrong. If you get another reply that is more compelling, disregard my ID. I encourage you to read the two articles mentioned above as they helped me come to peace with fact that positive IDs are not always possible. You have a fine-looking specimen there.

P.S. I'm a former Hoosier from Evansville.

Here is a link that might be useful: Any ID Beyond

    Bookmark   September 18, 2010 at 2:28AM
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Ron Hi, I thought by looking in a Ted Anderson book I would be able to find your plant. I know nothing about identification of cactus, just how to care for them. I looked up Night Blooming Cactus, and it came up Cereus, but few pictues to help me. You gave excellent information and take remarkable pictures. I reread your spine count and that may make the difference, now what about the aerole wool color and the distance between the aerole. I want to give it another try , okay give this name a try, Cereus argentinenis Britten and Rose 1920 I have a very accurate description but too tired to type it out tonight. They are very variable, funnel 6.7 -8.7 in long, flower no scent. I'll continue this tomorrow. If you have an email address I woul appreciate it so I can write it out if it is a possibility. This really is way over my head, but it is an opportunity for me to learn. Norma

    Bookmark   September 18, 2010 at 5:31AM
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Hi Ron, I just read the above post, the name given has ribs 9-10 the name is no longer in use., C. peruvianus seems to have changed to C. repandus is used at this time but the flowers are way too small 4.7-5.9. Could also be called Cereus hildmannianus = Hedge Cactus. Queen of the Night.
flowers are not white.
spines usually absent
flowers 9.8 to 12 in.

Do you remember where you got this plant. That would be a big help. We could also trace it that way as well. Now I hae two more books, I want to check out and see if I did come up with a match of spines, flower size, no scent, etc.

It also says the name C. peruvianus (linnaeus 1753 misapplied see under C. repandus Will get back with you tomorrow. Norma * Myreference was Edward Andersons The Cactus Family The book has over 770 pages Dr. Anderson is a respected Botantist. Norma

    Bookmark   September 18, 2010 at 6:02AM
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It is a cereus LOL! As you can see it's kind of hard to pin down a name since there are so many that are so similar. I've seen them id'd as every name mentioned above and then some.

This is one tough plant though! I picked up branches that had broken off in a wind storm and laid in the yard of a neighbors for a couple of months, filled the truck with them. Put some in my yard, pots, the neighbors flower beds, etc. 99% survived. Hurricane Ike and it's flood water caused them some damage but they survived that and just started sending up new growth like crazy. The front cactus had over 300 blooms earlier this week.

Congrats on catching the bloom. One night and that's it. It was too dark to take a pic when I went to work and when I got off you know what the blooms looked like.
Tally HO!

    Bookmark   September 18, 2010 at 9:34AM
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I think you nailed it, Beachplant! It's a Cereus, period. I know you were being funny, but I think that's what I'm going with. 300 blooms! Wow! That would knock me out; I sat for hours and marveled at one.

Thanks for going through your reference material, Norma. The distance between aeroles is 3-5cm; consistently 4cm during strong growth periods; color is a grayish-white; finely hairy. My email is ronscott61 at yahoo. Don't dig too deep, you'll get dizzy like I did. LOL

Thank for the links. I would say they were helpful, but, as you know, they let you know that you're helpless in pin-pointing an ID. I didn't mean to throw a stumper in here, I just became super curious with this bloom. This cactus grew in Hammond, IN, (northern zone 6) for many years, outdoor in summer, indoor in winter. Always potted. It belong to my uncle and then my father, who gave it to me 6 years ago as a one foot restart (I'm in Bloomington, IN, northern zone 5). This is the first time I know of it blooming.

Thanks so much. Ron

    Bookmark   September 18, 2010 at 12:33PM
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Ron I promised to write out the full description for you. Does your plant grow very tall, if not I am wrong , you will need to be the judge, not me.

Plants tree like 8-12m (26-39ft.)with numerous erect branches and distinct trunks.
Stems stout, curved basally but later erect, green 10-15 cm (3.9-5.9in)in diameter.
Ribs .04-5,thin, widely separated, 4-5cm(1.6-2 in.) high. Central (spines 1-2, to 10cm (3.9in) long .

Radical spines 5-8, brown, 3-5 cm(1.2-2in)long.
Flowers funnelform 17-22cm (6.7-8.7) long with out scent, white.

Fruits smooth. Distribution: Chacoo Central region of Argentina probably in a high Alt. that is why it can take the cold.
The description of the color or the flower and size and smell is what drew my attention to this species.
* From Edward Andersonson The Cactus Family* I'll look again tonight it is good practice for me. Please send a picture directly to my email on the subject line not in the letter section. We may even have this plant at the Huntington Gardens. I don't know names of cactus but I have great connections that do. Crasulady2@dslextreme Norma

    Bookmark   September 18, 2010 at 11:46PM
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Just to add to what the other posters masterfully informed you of, I too thought it was South American.

Does the flower smell faintly of just-husked corn silk?

    Bookmark   September 19, 2010 at 12:34AM
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Ya know, cactusmcharris, that's what it smelled like! Like I said, it was not fragrant as in perfumy, but it did have a scent, I stuck my nose into it several times. I can strongly agree with the faint corn silk description of the odor. And why wouldn't they, the filaments look and feel exactly like corn silk.

Yes, unless Norma comes up with something, I'm calling my cactus a South American column cactus. ^_^

Adding a couple pictures of the bloom half way open.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2010 at 1:11PM
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Ron, it is giant cactus and beautiful bloom. You catch a rare moment.....I hope it bloom again soon.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2010 at 8:00PM
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I knew it was from So. America, but don't know what country. Most are from Boliva. Potting will stunt the plant. How long was it in the family, ask them where they got the plant, we may get lucky. Norma

    Bookmark   September 19, 2010 at 8:45PM
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You might get lucky on your columnar cactus and get some flowers pollinated - you can then enjoy the fruits, too. I'd call it a Trichocereus (although some experts say the talls and shorts are all in Echinopsis).

Nice plant - although they're for one night and one night only, I liked the cereoid flowers for their nighttime attractiveness.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2010 at 9:26PM
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Definitely not Trichocereus/Echinopsis. They have hairy flower tubes.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2010 at 12:44AM
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I've never seen fruit on any of these here. By the time the sun rises the flowers are just swarming with bees. They are planted in Mexico as a living fence.
Congrats on the bloom! And to your family for raising such a nice looking cactus.
Tally HO!

    Bookmark   September 20, 2010 at 4:01PM
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Thanks again for all the input and comments; it's been nice sharing this with you all, name or no name.

Appreciate the sentiments, 1trans54.

This cactus has been in my family for over twenty years, Norma. Where it originally came from is unknown.

Thanks for the terminology distinction, cactusmcharris, I appreciate that.

The flower bud (10 inches long) broke/fell off from gravity, I believe, a few days after blooming. Fruiting is yet to be seen, I'll let you know if anything develops. Ron

    Bookmark   September 20, 2010 at 6:03PM
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Ron- Folks with correct information we can pin down San. names if the information is correct. It is is a X forget it. I went out and purchased fresh corn today so I can smell the silk? I really can't remember what you call the threads?
I can't smell them from the computer.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2010 at 6:56PM
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Ron please email me your correct email address. The one on your page was returned to me, I do have information I want to forward you, it is from the HUntington Gardens. Norma

    Bookmark   September 20, 2010 at 8:36PM
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Ron I have information for you please email me. Those are filaments, just like the Echinopsis have. Please forward your extra pictures to You got his attention. That was the tube size? yes and not the flower size. The extra pictures will be a help, so I guessed it right your are a professional? I could tell by the way you described your plant. It is easy to tell the novices. Norma

    Bookmark   September 20, 2010 at 9:07PM
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I'm a cook, Norma. I'll try again with the email.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2010 at 9:44PM
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I am not sure how the flower was removed and if it even matters, but these cactus also produce edible fruit. If that knob swells up and turns red you can eat it! Mine bloomed for the first time last year and the flower was stunning and even more interesting to see that it fruited.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2010 at 11:25AM
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Saw the bright red fruit on the similar Cereus peruvianus growing in Florida, of which I have a 3 foot cutting. The fruit is supposed to be quite good. Ron's plant is very similar to mine, but with longer spines.


    Bookmark   September 23, 2010 at 10:04PM
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jT also said that perhaps with more sun the spines would perhaps grow longer, the epidermis may turn glaucous blue.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2010 at 11:26PM
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