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NPIN: Native Plant Database

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Acanthocereus tetragonus (Triangle cactus)
Marcus, Joseph A.

Acanthocereus tetragonus

Acanthocereus tetragonus (L.) Humm.

Triangle Cactus, Barbed-wire Cactus, Chaco

Cactaceae (Cactus Family)

Synonym(s): Acanthocereus floridanus, Acanthocereus pentagonus, Cactus tetragonus, Cereus pentagonus

USDA Symbol: acte4

USDA Native Status: L48 (N), HI (I), VI (N)

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.

 

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Cactus/Succulent
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 Information

Bloom 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.

Distribution

USA: 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 Conditions

Water Use: Low , Medium
Light Requirement: Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry , Moist
Drought Tolerance: High
Heat Tolerant: yes
Soil Description: Sandy, moist soils.

Benefit

Use 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
Attracts: Butterflies
Nectar Source: yes

Propagation

Propagation 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.

National Wetland Indicator Status

Region:AGCPAKAWCBEMPGPHIMWNCNEWMVE
Status: FAC UPL FACU UPL
This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here for map of regions.

Bibliography

Bibref 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

Additional resources

USDA: Find Acanthocereus tetragonus in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Acanthocereus tetragonus in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Acanthocereus tetragonus

Metadata

Record Modified: 2010-06-07
Research By: JAM

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