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Selenicereus grandiflorus

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A cactus species of the genus Selenicereus known for its large, flower (i.e. 17 to 22.5 cm in length and as much as 38 cm in width) that blooms at night and with a sweet vanilla-like fragrance


Selenicereus grandiflorus is a cactus species of the order Caryophyllales. It is one of the cactus plants being called as night-blooming cereus. Its specific epithet is derived from Latin meaning large flowered. Its large flower that blooms at night characterizes this plant. It was considered as the largest flowered species of cacti as described by Carl von Linné in 1753. Its flower ranges from 17 to 22.5 cm in length and width that reaches to 38 cm. 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.

Selenicereus grandiflorus has a stem that has a tendency to climb, branching, and may form tangles. It has aerial roots that are stiff and with length of about 10 m or more. The subspecies donkelaarii has spines that are short and appressed to stem. Its flower emits fragrance that is likened to vanilla (hence, also commonly called vanilla cactus). Its fruit is ovoid, whitish, pink, yellow or orange in color, and with dimensions of 5-9 cm in length and 4.5 – 7 cm in thickness.

The species is endemic to Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, Honduras, Jamaica, Haiti, Nicaragua and so on.

Scientific classification:

  • Kingdom: Plantae
  • Order: Caryophyllales
  • Family: Cactaceae
  • Subfamily: Cactoideae
  • Tribe: Hylocereeae
  • Genus: Selenicereus
  • Species: S. grandiflorus

Other common name(s):

  • queen of the night
  • vanilla cactus
  • night-blooming cereus
  • large blooming cereus
  • large flowered torch thistle
  • large-flowered night cactus
  • lunar flower

See also: