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From Biology-Online Dictionary | Biology-Online Dictionary
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A genus of cacti belonging to the taxonomic tribe Hylocereeae.


Hylocereeae members are climbers or epiphytes. There are six genera belonging to this tribe and one of them is Selenicereus (others are Disocactus Lindl., Epiphyllum Haw. Hylocereus Britton & Rose, Pseudorhipsalis Britton & Rose, and Weberocereus Britton & Rose). The members of this group are leafless, with flattened stems, and large blooms borne on the sides of the stem.

Selenicereus plants are clambering plants. They produce aerial roots. Their areoles (i.e. raised structures that characterize many cacti) may or may not bear spines. They produce large blooms and are nocturnal, i.e. flowers bloom at night. Their nocturnality is essential in attracting pollinators such as moths. Their fruits have numerous spines. The flowers are typically white and very fragrant. However, some of the species bear flowers that may persist for only a single night.

One of the members of this genus is Selenicereus grandiflorus. Its specific epithet is derived from Latin meaning large flowered. However, there are other Selenicereus species that produce larger blooms, e.g. Selenicereus chrysocardium with flowers of 32–38 cm long and 28 cm wide.

Scientific classification:

  • Kingdom: Plantae
  • Order: Caryophyllales
  • Family: Cactaceae
  • Subfamily: Cactoideae
  • Tribe: Hylocereeae
  • Genus: Selenicereus

Other common name(s):

  • moonlight cactus

See also:

  • Selenicereus grandiflorus