Triangle Cactus, Barbed-wire Cactus, Chaco
USDA Symbol: ACTE4
USDA Native Status:
Sprawling, clambering or arching-accumbent stems to several meters (up to 2m growth per year), Ribs are sharply-angled, usually 3 on mature stems, 4-5 on juvenile stems. Spiney. Spines variable, usually about 8 per areaole, 2.5-5cm long. Night-flowering, fully open flower 10-20cm in diameter, inner tepals are pure white, slightly fragrant. Fruits are shiny, red and sweet-tasting.
Triangle cactus has large, fragrant white blooms that open at night during the summer and attract hummingbird moths. This cactus is hardy to about 20 degrees Fahrenheit.
From the Image Gallery
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial
Root Type: Fibrous
Leaf Retention: Semi-evergreen
Breeding System: Flowers Bisexual
Size Notes: 5-18
Flower: Flowers 10-20 cm. Outer tepals greenish-white. Inner tepals pure white. Stamens yellow
Fruit: Red. About 5cm.
Size Class: 12-36 ft.
Bloom InformationBloom Color: White
Bloom Time: Jul , Aug , Sep
Bloom Notes: Night-flowering, usually opening near midnight, closing at or about dawn. Flowers are large and slightly fragrant.
DistributionUSA: FL , TX
Native Distribution: Coastal areas of South Texas, Florida, West Indies, Mexico, Central America and northern South America.
Native Habitat: Thickets in sandy, coastal areas.
Growing ConditionsWater Use: Low , Medium
Light Requirement: Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry , Moist
Drought Tolerance: High
Heat Tolerant: yes
Soil Description: Sandy, moist soils.
BenefitUse Ornamental: Garden curiosity.
Use Wildlife: In Florida, endangered Key Largo woodrats eat the stems.
Use Food: Fruit is edible and sweet.
Warning: Painfully spiney plants. May be a garden aggressive.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Interesting Foliage: yes
Nectar Source: yes
PropagationPropagation Material: Seeds , Semi-hardwood Cuttings
Description: May be propagated by seed or by stem cuttings.
Seed Collection: Seed should be removed from fruit pulp and thorougly dried before sowing.
BibliographyBibref 1119 - Florida Keys Wildflowers: A Guide to the Common Wildflowers of the Florida Keys (2004) Hammer, Roger L.
Bibref 293 - Manual of the Vascular Plants of Texas (1979) Correll, D. S. & M. C. Johnston
Search More Titles in Bibliography
Recommended Species Lists
Find native plant species by state. Each list contains commercially available species suitable for gardens and planned landscapes. Once you have selected a collection, you can browse the collection or search within it using the combination search.View Recommended Species page
Additional resourcesUSDA: Find Acanthocereus tetragonus in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Acanthocereus tetragonus in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Acanthocereus tetragonus
MetadataRecord Modified: 2010-06-07
Research By: JAM