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By B. E. Hammel
English, work in progress: placed 1/Apr./2000
1 Plants terrestrial or sometimes clambering on other vegetation,
but rooting only at the base (or at nodes); stems with spines (except
a few cultivated Opuntia).Acanthocereus
2 Leaves and stems normal (leaves broad and thin, stems cylindrical
2' Leaves and stems cactoid (leaves small points seen only on new
growth, or lacking, stems variously ribbed or broadly flattened).
3 Stems (or side branches from them) broadly flattened, the branch
segments more or less obovate; fine hairs at base of spines very
brittle and barbed
4 Plants spineless; cultivated.
5 Largest pads mostly < 25 cm long, <15 cm wide; fls
5' Largest pads > 30 cm long, >20 cm wide; fls.
4' Plants with spines; native or cultivated.
6 Spines yellowish, both hair-spines and spines present; very rare,
native (Palo Verde); fls. red?
6' Spines white to gray, only spines present; relatively common,
native or cultivated; fls. yellow.
7 Plants with cylidrical central trunk 2 m or more tall, with
numerous cylindrical lateral branches from which the pads arise;
7' Plants without trunk or, if trunk present, < 2 m, the lateral
branches all formed by the connected pads.
8 Largest pads > 30 cm long, >20 cm wide; plants erect; cult.
8' Largest pads < 20 cm long, <10 cm wide; plants often
prostrate; native...O. guatemalensis
3' All stems basically cylindrical, but variously ribbed or winged;
fine hairs at base of spines, if present, not barbed.
9 Plants 2 m or more tall, erect.
10 Stems 25-35 cm wide, 10+ ribbed, erect; stem tips with horizontal,
zig-zag, glaucous lines
10' Stems ca. 15 cm wide, 4--6 winged, often arched and clabering on
other vegetation; stem tips unadorned
9' Plants < 50 cm tall, decumbent or erect.
11 Spines recurved; stems more or less globose, unbrached, erect;
fls. clustered at very tip of stem, among wooly
11' Spines erect; stems elongate, cylindrical and prostrate; fls.
growing along stem
1' Plants epiphytic or (occasionally) clambering on rocks, usually
producing roots along the stem, as well as at base; stems with or
12 Stems regularly di- to poly-chotomously branched; seeds narrowly
ovate; fls. without tube, the limb < 5 mm wide, white; fr.
globose, ca. 5 mm diam, lacking bracteoles, translucent
13 Stems cylindrical; Atl. lowlands and wet forest of (S) Pac.
13' Stems 4-angled; moist forest, meseta central
12' Stems irregularly and not di- to poly-chotomously branched,
broadly flattened or 3 or more ribed or winged; seeds +- pear-shaped;
fls. with tube ca. 0.5--30 cm, rarely nearly lacking, the limb pink,
red, or white; frs. usually ovoid and much larger, with bracteoles,
usually red or green, not white.
14 Ovary bracts without stiff spines; stems either broadly 3-angled,
15 Ovary bracts large (mostly > 0.5 cm), overlapping, without wool
or hair-spines; fls. broadly funnel-shaped; stems thinly to thickly
3-winged, usually with 2--6, spines in the
16 Stem wings thick (3 mm or more in fresh material), the stems
usually more or less glaucous; fls. ca. 30 cm; plants apparently
native only on Pac. Slope.
17 Bracteoles of ovary 0.5--3 cm, imbricate; spines 2--4 mm,
3--6/areole, mostly black; stigma lobes not cleft; known only from N
half of country, coastal and inland
17' Bracteoles of ovary 0.5--1 cm, distant; spines 1--2 mm, usually 1
or 2/areole, reddish brown; stigma lobes apically cleft; known only
from S half of country, inland
16' Stem wings thin (ca. 2 mm at most), green, not glaucous; stout
spines often lacking; plants apparently native only on the Atlantic
18 Wings of stems with prominent rounded projections 1--2.5+ X 1.5--2
cm; fls. huge (30--37 cm), the inner tepals white, the upper
bracteoles papery thin and becoming chartaceous; stout spines almost
18' Wings of stems lacking prominent projections, more or less
regularly undulate; fls. relatively small (8--)9--10 cm, the inner
tepals red or pink, the upper bracteoles more or less thickly
succulent; 1--3 stout spines present or not
15' Ovary bracts small (mostly < 0.3 cm); fls. trumpet-shapped or
with essentially no tube; stems broadly flattened, the aeroles
without stiff spines.
19 Fls. at least 10 cm; fls.
20 Areoles with abundant felt, the lower ones of stem often with
several, weak hair-spines; stems drying green, the margins +- deeply
crenate and often abruptly rounded to the sinus apically; tepals ca.
20' Areoles lacking felt.
21 Stems (phylloclades) 8--25 cm wide, usually drying black or gray,
the margins shallowly to deeply lobed, but +- regularly; tepals 9--14
22 Areoles of stem sinuses with conspicuous, protruding flaps, ca. 2
mm; stems, thick and stiff (live material), very deeply to shallowly
lobed, the margines distinctly convex; areoles lacking hair-spines;
fl. buds +- in same plane as stem, but pointing away from its
22' Areoles of stem sinuses without conspicuous flaps; stems
succulent but rubbery flexible, shallowly lobed, the margins usually
nearly flat; areoles (especially of ovary) often with hair-spines;
fl. buds +- pressed against the lower surface of stem
21' Stems 3--6.5 cm wide, mostly drying yellowish green or gray, the
+- shallow lobes slightly broader apically; tepals ca. (3.5--)4--6
23 Reticulate venation of stem lamina clearly visible in dry
material, the surface often drying shiny; seed surface
23' Reticulate venation of stem lamina not visible in dry material,
the surface usually drying dull; seed surface conspicuously
19' Fls. < 4 cm +- funnel-shaped, without tube, or
24 Fls. with no apparent tube, funnel-shaped or rotate, the tepals
ca. 6 mm, the outer ones translucent white to pink; flattened portion
of stems relatively thin, drying +- green.
25 Reticulate venation of stem lamina clearly visible in dry
material, the surface drying shiny; stems to 7 cm wide; fls.
25' Reticulate venation of stem not visible in dry material, the
surface drying dull; stems mostly < 3 cm wide; fls.
24' Fls. with an obvious tube, narrowly funnelform or trumpet-shaped,
outer tepals reddish cream or lavender, the tepals ca. 8--15 mm;
flattened portion of stem relatively thick, usually drying dark gray
26 Fls. lavender; frs. ovoid; seeds dull, minutely pitted; known only
from moist forest, Guanacaste, very rare (in CR)
26' Fls. pale reddish cream; frs. globose to ovoid; seeds smooth,
shiny; known only from wet Pacific forest (from Carara south),
14' Ovary bearing +- stiff spines or at least tuberculate and with
hair-spines (check, eg., Weberocereus biolleyi); stems
various, often with spines
27 Fl. tube ca. 10 cm long (fls. trumpet-shaped); stems cylindrical
(5--12 ribbed or winged)
28 Stems spiney, ca. 5--15 (or more?) cm diam., including the 5-7
broad wings, tightly clinging to substrate
28' Stems without spines, ca. 1.5 cm diam, with numerous low ribs,
loosely climbing and pendulous
27' Fl. tube mostly much less than 10 cm (fls. +- funnel-shaped);
stems all of the above, often with hairs, bristles or spines in the
areoles; seeds minutely pitted (except W.
Weberocereus & "Nopaloxchia
29 Stems mostly 10--15 cm wide, flattened.
30 Lobes of stem very deep; frs. with spines, the pulp
30' Lobes of stem very shallow; frs. lacking spines, the pulp
29' Stems < 6 cm wide, cylindrical or variously ribbed to
flattened or 3 or 4 winged.
31 Stems (2)3--4(--5) cm wide, broadly flattened or 3-winged.
32 Inner tepals reddish pink, the fls. ca. 8 cm (--16!!!?--not true
on the plants Horich gave me, ca. _ that size. This measurement from
the type description), the tube with a few stiff bristles basally;
stems mostly thickly flattened to 3-angled, the areoles with
conspicuous wool and several stiff bristles; fr. flesh pinkish
32' Inner tepals cream, the fls. ca. 6--8 cm, the tube mores or less
covered with short spines; stems mostly thinly 3 winged, the areoles
with or without spines; fr. flesh yellow, fragrant and sweetly
acidic; seeds smooth;
31' Stems < 2 cm wide, +- cylindrical, smooth to variously ribbed
or angled; fr. flesh dark magenta, tasteless and odorless; fls. ca
33 Areoles of stems with numerous yellowish hair-spines as well as
33' Areoles of stems without hairs or the hairs white.
34 Spines abundant on stems, hairs lacking; fls. 6--7 cm
34' Spines and hairs often lacking on stems; fls 5--6 cm.
35 Stems mostly smooth
35' Stems mostly sharply 3-4 angled
Acanthocereus tetragonus (L.) Hummelinck.Disocactus (sensu Kimnach)
Terrestrial, long-stemmed, up to 4 m, often forming clumps in coastal
thickets, the stems arching and sometimes more or less recumbent on
other vegetation; stems mostly 3 or 4 winged, the wings 3--5 cm wide
(i.e. from base to marging), the margins shallowly crenate-lobed,
4--6 cm between areoles, the areoles with dense wool and 10+ stout
spines 0.2--7 cm, lacking bracts. Fls. trumpet-shaped, 13--22 cm,
tepals 3--5 cm, the external ones green (sometimes tinged violet),
inner ones white; ovary with numerous short (ca. 2mm) bracteoles
subtending dense wool and few short (1--3 mm) spines), the tube also
with few such bratcteoles. Fr. gobose, spiney, ?? cm, reddish-purple,
the flesh ??; seeds ?shaped, ?? mm, the surface?, black.
Dry, coastal thickets and canyons, 0--800 m; Pacific slope,
Guanacaste to Valle Central and disjunct to the Rio Terraba Canyon.
(Hammel 18494, INB)
This is one of our most commonly cultivated native cacti. The usually
long spines and few, thin stem wings on this ererct to arching
terrestrial species, are distinctive. The disjunct population along
the lower reaches of the Terraba river appears to have generally
shorter spines (to 2 cm) and fls. (to13 cm) than the more northern
Mostly pendulous, spineless epiphytes with flat stems and with
small (<3 cm? long) fls. but with clearly visible tube; frs.
globose or broadly ovoid.Epiphyllum
Disocactus acuminatus (Cufod.) Kimnach, Cact. Succ. J. (Los
Angeles) 33: 14. 1961; Pseudorhipsalis acuminata
Cufod., Arch. Bot. Sist. 9(3-4): 196. 1933; Rhipsalis
acuminata (Cufod.) Standl. Disocactus horichii
Cladodes 10--50 x 2--7 cm, the apex mostly narrowly acuminate, rarely
rounded, the lamina drying +- translucent, often shiny, green or
grayish green; margins shallowly serrate to crenate, the lobes
(areole to areole x bottom of sinus to apex of lobe, measured at
wides part of cladode) 10--30 x 1--2 (--5) mm, broadest at their
middle or towards their apex, usually convex. Bracts of areoles ca.
0.2? mm, the areoles essentially naked (on older stems). Fls. rotate
or funnelform, ca. 1--1.6 cm (incl. ovary); tepals 6--1.2 cm, white
the outer ones sometimes tinged pink; ovary with a few bracteoles
(0.2--0.3 mm) subtending minute hairs (<0.1 mm). Fr. globose, ca.
5--6(--8) mm, red or pink; seeds pear-shaped, 1.6--1.8 mm, the
surface smooth (slightly pitted near neck) and dull, reddish brown to
Wet forest, 40--900 (-1400) m; Cordillera Guanacaste to Cordillera
Volcanica Central, and Llanuras de San Carlos on the Atlantic slope,
Fila Bustamante on the Pacific slope..
(incl. material from La Selva--Hammel 8680 &
D. Smith 58). Thin leaves drying with very
obvious reticulate venation. Fresh leaves described as "somewhat
rubbery, not succulent
brittle when bent
s.n., given to me by Horich as D. horichii and claimed by
him to be from the type plant, flowered (and was vouchered) in the MO
greenhouse on 23 May 1994, is D. acuminatus.
Disocactus amazonicus (K. Schum.) D. R. Hunt, Cact. Succ. J.
Gr. Brit. 44(1): 2. 1982; Wittia amazonica K. Schum.,
Monatsschr. Kakteenk. 13: 117. 1903.
Cladodes 20--30+ x 2--6+ cm, the apex +- rounded to acuminate, the
lamina drying dull and dark gray; margins shallowly crenate, the
lobes 15--30 x 1--2 mm, broadest towards their apex. Bracts of
areoles ca. 0.2 mm, the areoles with very short (0.2 mm) wool. Fls.
+- tubular, 2.5--3(--4) cm; tepals ca. 1 cm, lavender; ovary with a
few bracteoles (ca. 0.5 mm) subtending minute hairs. Fr. +- ovoid,
1--1.5 cm, pink to red; seeds pear-shaped, 1.6--1.8 mm, surface
ruggose and sometimes slightly pitted, dull black.
Guanacaste, Carmona, Cerro Azul, 900 m, fl. Feb 28 '86 "Flores de
color rosado con lila muy vistosas." Very broad leaves, much like an
Epiphyllum, magenta more or less tubular fls. (L. D.
Gómez et al 23346, CR; Horich s.n., Cerro el Pando de
Disocactus himantocladus (Rol.-Goss.) Kimnach, Cact. Succ. J.
(Los Angeles) 33: 14. 1961; Rhipsalis himantoclada
Rol.-Goss., Bull. Soc. Bot. France 55: 694. 1908. Disocactus
Cladodes 20--45(--60) x (1.5--)3--4.5 cm, the apex rounded to
acuminate, the lamina drying dull and dark gray to tan; margins
shallowly crenate, the lobes mostly 15--20 x 1--2 mm, broadest
towards their apex or at their middle, convex to straight. Bracts of
areoles 3--5 mm, the areoles (of mature stems) essentially naked.
Fls. trumpet-shaped, 1.5--2.5(--3.3) cm; tepals ca. 0.8--1(--1.5) cm,
the outer yellowish pink, the inner white; ovary with a few
bracteoles (ca. 0.5 mm), hairs lacking. Fr. +- globose, ca. 1 cm,
reddish; seeds broadly pear-shaped, 1.3--1.6 mm, surface minutely
pitted, dull, dark reddish brown to black.
Wet but somewhat seasonal forest, 0--650 m; Pacific slope from Valle
de Parrita to the Osa Peninsula, also (rare) in the Valle de El
General. CR & Pan.
Much material from CR was formerly misidentified as D.
biformis, which does not occur here. Broad stems drying dark
and dull; pinkish cream fls. with a rather long tube (ca. 1 cm).
Fresh leaves stiff and brittle. Disocactus lankesteri, isotype
in fl. at MO, has the same unusual pollen in tetrads of D.
himantocladus, and is in all other ways indistinguishable from
Disocactus ramulosus (Salm-Dyck) Kimnach, Cact. Succ. J. (Los
Angeles) 33(1): 14. 1961; Cereus ramulosus Salm-Dyck,
Hort. Dyck. 340. 1834; Rhipsalis ramulosa (Salm-Dyck)
Pfeiff. Rhipsalis coriacea Polak.
Cladodes 10--27 x 1--2.5 cm, the apex rounded to acuminate, the
lamina drying dull and greenish tan; margins shallowly crenate, the
lobes mostly 15--20 x 1--2 mm, broadest towards their apex. Bracts of
areoles ca. 0.5 mm, the areoles naked. Fls. rotate, ca. 1 cm; tepals
0.5--0.6 cm, white; ovary with a few bracteoles (ca. 0.5 mm), hairs
lacking (except rarely scant hairs at base of fl). Fr. globose,
0.5--0.6 cm, white; seeds pear-shaped, 1.2--1.3 mm, surface smooth,
Wet forest, 700-1350 m; Cord. Tilaran (both slopes) to Rio
Narrow stems, small white fls. with basically no tube.
Flat- and broad-stemmed, spineless, pendulous epiphytes with large
fls. (mostly> 7 cm?); frs. narrowly ovoid.Hylocereus
Epiphyllum cartagense (F. A. C. Weber) Britton & Rose,
Contr. U.S. Natl. Herb. 16: 256. 1913; Phyllocactus
cartagensis F.A.C. Weber, Bull. Mus. Hist. Nat. (Paris) 8:
Cladodes 13--45 x (1.5--)2.5--6.5 cm, the apex mostly rounded to
acute, rarely acuminate, the lamina often drying dark, greenish tan
and somewhat shiny, the reticulate venation usually obvious; margins
markedly crenate, the lobes mostly 25--55 x 4--15 mm, broadest
towards their apex. Bracts of areoles ca. 0.2--0.5 mm, the areoles
with very short hairs. Fls. trumpet-shaped, 16--19(--21) cm; tepals
5--6.5 cm, the outer pinkish, the inner white; ovary with a few
triangular bracteoles (0.5--2 mm), subtending scant, short hairs. Fr.
narrowly ovoid, (4--)5--8 cm, obscurely 4or 5 angled, red with white
pulp; seeds pear-shaped, 3--4 mm, surface faintly rugose, dull to
somewhat shiny, black.
Wet forest, 700--1700 m; both slopes from Cordillera Guanacaste to
Cordillera Talamanca. Endemic.
The obvious reticulate venation and often somewhat shiny surface of
the cladodes (dry material) help distinguish this species from other
flat-stemmed cacti in CR.
Epiphyllum grandilobum (F. A. C. Weber) Britton & Rose,
Contr. U.S. Natl. Herb. 16: 257. 1913; Phyllocactus
grandilobus Weber, Bull. Mus. Hist. Nat. Paris 8: 464. 1902.
Epiphyllum gigas Woodson & Cutak
Cladodes 40--70+ x 8--12(--25) cm, the apex rounded to broadly acute,
the lamina drying dull, usually light greenish or grayish tan;
margins shallowly crenate (to very deeply lobed), the lobes 40--70 x
(2--)4--20(--60) mm, mostly broadest towards their middle. Bracts of
areoles 1--2(--4) mm, the areoles naked. Fls. funnel- or
trumpet-shaped, 28--38 cm; tepals 10--15 cm, the outer greenish
yellow the inner cream to white; ovary with a few bracteoles (2--15
mm) subtending scant wool. Fr. ovoid, ca. 5 cm; seeds pear-shaped,
2.5--3 mm, surface slightly pitted, dull, black.
Wet forest, 20--1100 m; Cordillera Tilaran, Llanura de Tortuguero,
Osa Peninsula. Nic.--Pan.
The very conspicuous areolar bacts (in the sinus' of stem lobes),
help distinguish this species, vegetatively from all other
flat-stemmed cacti in CR. In life, the cladodes are the thickest of
CR Epiphyllum, but not as thick as those of
Weberocereus bradei. The one fr. collection has the fr.
attached directly to the woody cylindrical stem, not to the edge of a
Epiphyllum lepidocarpum (F. A. C. Weber) Britton & Rose,
Contr. U.S. Natl. Herb. 16: 257. 1913; Phyllocactus
lepidocarpus F.A.C. Weber, Bull. Mus. Hist. Nat. (Paris) 8:
Cladodes 30--75 x 3--5.5 cm, the apex rounded to acute, the lamina
drying dull and greenish tan; margins moderately crenate, the lobes
mostly 25--40 x 5--7 mm, broadest towards their apex. Bracts of
areoles ca. 0.5 mm, the areoles usually distinctly wooly, often with
a few hair-spines. Fls. funnel-form to trumpet-shaped, 14--17(--20)
cm; tepals 5.5--7(--8) cm, the outer rose, the inner pale rose to
creamy white; ovary with a few bracteoles (ca. 2--3 mm), subtending
wool and occasional hair-spines. Fr. ovoid to globose, 4.5--5 cm,
purplish pink; seeds pear-shaped, 1.5--2 mm, surface smooth, shiny,
Wet forest, 700--2050 m; Cordillera de Tilaran to Cordillera
Talamanca and Cerros Escazu. CR & Pan.
The areoles usually have obvious wool and sometimes hair-spines and
the apparently quite succulent cladodes dry greenish tan. The
epidermis of the cylidrical portions of stems often dries yellowish
tan and brittle.
Epiphyllum phyllanthus (L.) Haw., Syn. Pl. Succ. 197. 1812;
Cactus phyllanthus L. Sp. Pl. 469. 1753.
Epiphyllum pittieri (F. A. C. Weber) Britton &
Cladodes 17--100+ x 3--7 cm, the apex rounded to acute, the lamina
drying dull and grayish to greenish tan; margins moderately crenate,
the lobes mostly 25--50 x 3--8 mm, broadest towards their apex,
rounded to often concave. Bracts of areoles ca. 0.2 mm, the areoles
with very short wool. Fls. trumpet-shaped, 10--14.5(--18) cm; tepals
3--4(--5.5) cm, the outer greenish white to white or pink, the inner
white; ovary with a few bracteoles (1--2 mm), hairs mostly lacking
(except scant wool at base of fl.). Fr. narrowly ovoid,
(2.5--)3.3--7.5 cm, red to lavender pink; seeds +- comma-shaped,
(2--)3.5--4 mm, surface deeply pitted, dull, black.
Wet forest, 5--650 m; from both slopes, more or less throughout. The
species, Mex.--Brazil; the variety, Nic.--Pan.
The thick, brittle cladodes, often with their lobe margins concave,
and especially the very conspicuously pitted seeds, mark this
species. I consider all CR material to be var. pittieri (F. A.
C. Weber) Kimnach. One specimen (Bello 2363) has unusually
small seeds, and another (Gomez et. al. 23806) is said to have
diurnal fls. visited by Trigona bees.
Epiphyllum thomasianum (K. Schum.) Britton & Rose, Contr.
U.S. Nat. Herb. 16: 259. 1913; Phyllocactus thomasianus
K. Schum., Monatsschr. Kakteenk. 5: 6. 1895.; E.
costaricense Britton & Rose, E. macrocarpum
Back. E. macropterum sensu Britton &
Cladodes 23--95+ x 6--10 cm, the apex rounded to acute, the lamina
drying dark gray to nearly black, sometimes brown along the edge;
margins boldly crenate, the lobes mostly 35--55 x 5--10 mm, broadest
at their middle, convex or rarely truncate. Bracts of areoles ca.
0.2--0.3 mm, the areoles with scant wool, sometimes with a few
reddish hair-spines. Fls. trumpet- or funnel-shaped, 26--38 cm;
tepals 9--14 cm, the outer rose colored, the inner white; ovary with
a few bracteoles (ca. 0.5 mm), with wool and often a few hair-spines
6--10 mm. Fr. ovoid, ca. 10 cm, magenta; seeds pear-shaped, 3.2--3.5
mm, surface smooth, shiny, black.
Wet forest, 50--1300 m; Cordillera Tilaran and Llanura de San Carlos
to Cordillera Talamanca (Atlantic slope), Osa Peninsula. Mex., Guat,
Perhaps most easily recognized in dried material by the nearly black
lamina of the cladodes. In life, the lamina are unusually rubbery.
Various authors have recognized two varieties, both presumably
occuring in Costa Rica: var. thomasianum, lacking hair-spines,
lamina margin green, tepals 12--13.5 cm, frs. smooth; var.
costaricense, spine hairs present, lamina margin tan, tepals
9--10 cm, frs. ribbed. This species is often cultivated around San
Climbing, viny epiphytes; stems 3-angled, usually with short,
stiff spines on the aureoles, but none on the fls. or frs. Large
Hylocereus calcaratus (F. A. C. Weber) Britton & Rose,
Contr. U.S. Natl. Herb 12: 428. 1909; Cereus calcaratus
F.A.C. Weber, Bull. Mus. Hist. Nat. 8: 458. 1902.
Stem wings 1.5--3.5 cm wide, thin, dark green in fresh material;
margins scallop-lobed with bold protuberances near the areoles, the
prouberances 1--2.5 cm from base to apex; areoles 3--5.5 cm apart,
borne just above the protuberances, bearing dense wool and usually a
few hair-spines 2--3 mm. Fls. funnel-shaped, 35--37 cm; tepals 10--15
cm, the outer greenish yellow, the inner creamy white; stigma lobes
18--21, not forked; ovary covered with large, broadly ovate,
overlapping bracteoles, 0.5--2 cm, the lower ones covering a row of
thin, flat hairs. Fruit and seeds unknown.
Wet forest, ?? m; Limon. Endemic.
I have a collection of a dead ringer for it from Cerro de La Muerte,
1750 m, live but never fertile.
Hylocereus costaricensis (F. A. C. Weber) Britton & Rose,
Contr. U.S. Natl. Herb. 12: 428. 1909; Cereus trigonus
var. costaricensis F.A.C. Weber, Bull. Mus. Hist. Nat. (Paris)
8: 457. 1902.
Stem wings 1--3 cm wide, usually very thick, grayish green, +-
glaucous in fresh material; margins shallowly scallop-lobed, the
lobes (areole to areole) 2--3.5 x 0.1--0.2 cm, the areoles bearing
dense, short wool and 3--6 (9) short, dark spines 2--4 mm. Fls.
funnel-shaped, 22--30 cm; tepals 11--15 cm, the outer greenish
yellow, the inner white; stigma lobes ca. 12, not forked; ovary
covered with large, broadly to narrowly triangular, overlapping
bracteoles, 0.5--3 cm. Fruit broadly ovate to globose, bright
magenta; seeds pear-shaped, black.
Dry forest and coastal areas, 0--1400 m; Pac. slope from Guanacaste
to Rio Parrita valley. Nic., CR
Hylocereus monacanthus (Lem.) Britton & Rose, Publ.
Carnegie Inst. Wash. 248(2): 190. 1920; Cereus
monacanthus Lem., Hort. Univ. 6: 60. 1845.
Stem wings 0.5--2 cm wide, thickish, pale green to somewhat glaucous
in fresh material; margins shallowly scallop-lobed, the lobes 3.5--6
x 0.3--0.4 cm (concave between the areoles in dry material), the
areoles with scant, short wool (young stems) and 1 or 2(3), short,
ambar spines 1.5--2 mm. Fls. funnel-shaped, 20--28 cm; tepals 9--13
cm, the outer yellow with red margins, the inner white but shaded
pink towareds base; stigma lobes ca. 15, forked; ovary with several
large, broadly triangular, but distant bracteoles, 0.5--1 cm. Fruit
and seeds unknown?
Dry forest, riverside, 50--700 m; Pacific slope, Valle de El
General--Rio Terraba drainage. CR and Pan. Aguilar & Quesada
2085, Hammel 18213, Solomon 19314.
In CR known only from the southern part of the country, Pacific
slope. Not only is the name tentative, the separation of this from
what we call H. costaricensis in CR is also
hypothetical, supported primarily by distribution, number and size of
spines, and size of the ovary bracteoles, branching of the stigma
Hylocereus stenopterus (F.A.C. Weber) Britton & Rose,
Contr. U.S. Natl. Herb. 12: 429. 1909; Cereus
stenopterus F.A.C. Weber, Bull. Mus. Hist. Nat. (Paris) 8:
Stem wings 1.5--2 cm wide, thin, pale green in fresh material;
margins shallowly scallop-lobed, the lobes 3.5--4.5 x 0.3--0.4 cm
(concave in dry material), the areoles bearing dense, short wool and
(0)1--3, short, tan spines ca. 2 mm. Fls. funnel-shaped, ca. 13 cm;
tepals 7--9 cm, the outer reddish purple, the inner pink to purplish
red, nearly white along the margin; stigma lobes 14--18, forked;
ovary covered with large, broadly ovate, overlapping bracteoles.
Fruit globose, 7 cm, yellowish green (immature); seeds pear-shaped,
2.5--3 mm, the surface smooth to shallowly pitted, black.
Wet forest, 15--1000 m; Atl. slope, Llanuras de San Carlos and
Tortuguero to Cord. Talamanca. Endemic.
This species is distinctive for its relatively small and red fls. The
stems are 3 angled, the wings thin, and sometimes without spines.
What's the diff. between this and H. monacanthus in
sterile cond.? (Alfredo Brade 110 & 123, CR; M.M
Chavarria 576, CR, INB)
Melocactus curvispinus Pfeiff., Enum. Diagn. Cact. 46.
1837. M. maxonii (Rose) Gurke, M. maxonii (Rose) Gurke
var. sanctae-rosae L.D. Gómez, M. ruestii
K. Schum., M. ruestii K. Schum. subsp.
sanctae-rosae (L.D. Gómez) Elizondo.Nopalxochia
Terrestrial, short-stemmed, globose to cylindric to ca. 30 cm tall,
the stems with 10--16 ribs, the ribs ca. 10--27 mm wide.
Rare, Peninsula de Santa Elena and nearby. A small "barrel" cactus
with reddish fls.
Nopalxochia horichii Kimnach, Cact. Succ. J. (Los Angeles)
56: 6. 1984. Disocactus kimnachii G.D. Rowley (based on same
type as above)Opuntia
Laminate portion of stems (cladodes) rather thick (6--10 mm),
flattened or 3-angled, 2--4 cm wide, the apex acute or rounded, the
lamina drying dull, light grayish green; margins serrate lobed, the
lobes (areole to areole x base to apex) 15--30 x 1--3 mm, broadest
near the top, the areoles with abundant and conspicuous wool and
several (1--5+) slender but stiff spines, ca. 3--5 mm. Fls. +-
funnel-shaped, said to be 16.5--17 cm long, but with a rather long
tube, and in supposed clonotype material only just over half that
size (10 cm); tepals 5--6 cm pink; ovary bracteoles ca. 1 mm with
conspicuous, tan wool and stiff spines 4--6(--9) mm. Frs. +- globose,
2--3 cm, red with pink pulp, the wool and spines persistent; seeds
pear-shaped, 1.5--1.7 mm, conspicuously rugose-pitted, shiny
Wet forest, 1400 m. Cordillera Volcanica Central.
A nightmare! I may treat this as just a cultivated, pot ornamental,
only mention it under the family.
Terrestrial with obovate usually spiny "pads;" fls. with no tube,
yellow or red.Peniocereus
Opuntia brasiliensis (Wild.) Haw., Suppl. Pl. Succ. 79. 1819;
Cactus brasiliensis Willd., Enum. Pl. 33. 1813.
Stems erect to
This is the tall-trunked, cultivated one with small, thin pads,
cylindrical trunk and side branches; yellow fls. Perhaps should be
treated. It persists in fence rows around the Valle Central.
Opuntia cochenillifera (L.) Mill., Gard. Dict. (ed. 8) No. 6.
1768. Cactus cochenillifer L., Sp. Pl. 468. 1753. Nopalea
cochenillifera (L.) Salm-Dyck.
We shall use Opuntia as for Flora Nicaraguensis. Cultivated
but should be treated.
Opuntia ficus-indica (L.) Mill., Gard. Dict. (ed. 8) Opuntia
n. 2. 1768; Cactus ficus-indica Sp. Pl., 1: 468. 1753.
This is commonly cultivated, probably should be treated.
Opuntia guatemalensis Britton & Rose, Cact. 1: 218, f.
Dry forest, coastal thickets, 0--500 m; Pac. slope, Guanacaste and
Lots of collections of this one. It is a small, usually sprawling
plant with variable length spines, usually white with dark (or green
in life) tips.
Opuntia lutea Opuntia lutea (Rose) D. R. Hunt, Cact. Consensus
Init. 4: 6. 1997; Nopalea lutea Rose, Contr. U.S. Natl. Herb.
Dry forest, 100 m; known only from Palo Verde (Tempisque valley).
Guat. to CR. U. Chavarria 827, CR, INB
Peniocereus hirschtianus (K. Schum.) Hunt, Bradleya 9: 90.
1991; Cereus hirschtianus K. Schum., Gesamtbeschr.
Kakt. 130. 1897. Nyctocereus hirschtianus (K. Schum.) Britt.
Dry forest, coastal thickets, near sea level; Guanacaste, especially
Santa Elena Peninsula.
I've seen it in dune vegetation along the beach, trailing on the
ground, cylindrical and ribbed densely covered with short spines.
Terrestrial with spines and obvious, real leaves.Rhipsalis
Pereskia grandifolia Haw., Suppl. Pl. Succ. 85. 1819.
Cultivated but should be treated in the Manual. Pink flowers.
Pereskia lychnidiflora DC., Prodr. 3: 475. mar. 1828.
P. nicoyana F.A.C. Weber
Dry forest thickets, 8--75 m; Guanacaste, Valle del Tempisque. Mex.
to CR. Ulises Chavarria 788
Pendulous, spineless epiphytes, the stems terete, angled or flat
(elsewhere), polychotomous branching unique?; fls. very small (<1
cm?), the ovary lacking bracteoles; frs. globose; seeds elongate
Rhipsalis simmleri P. Beauv. (Bull. Herb. Boissier,
ser. 2, 7: 136. 1907) was reported by Barthlott & Taylor (1995)
as a synonym of R. cereuscula Haworth. It was based on
material said to have arrived (Paris) among a shipment of bromeliads
from Costa Rican, but undoubtedly a horticultural mix-up. The species
is South American, mostly from dry areas of SE Brazil, Bolivia,
Paraguay, Uruguay, has the ultimate stem segments angled, often with
hair-spines, the flowers pendulous. The plants that Horich claimed to
have collected near Caño Negro, and which he said were
possibly this species, are R. teres (see Barthlott
& Taylor, Bradleya 13: 65.1995), and certainly neither native nor
introduced (except by Horich himself!) to Costa Rica.
Rhipsalis baccifera (J.S. Muell.) Stearn, Cact. J. (Croydon)
7(4): 107. 1939; Cassytha baccifera J.S. Muell. Ill.
Syst. Sex. Linnaei [t. 2a]. 1771. Rhipsalis cassutha
Wet forest, 10--850 m; Atl. slope more or less throughout, Pac. slope
from Cord. Guanacaste, Carara Reserve, Valle de El General and Osa
Peninsula. Common, especially on the Atl.
Long, cylindrical drooping stems, small white fls. & frs.
Rhipsalis micrantha (Kunth) DC., Prodr. 3: 476. 1828;
Cactus micrantha Kunth, Nov. Gen. Sp. 6: 65. 1823.
R. tonduzii F. A. C. Weber; R. wercklei
Seasonal wet or moist forest, 800--1400 m; Pacifico Central, Fila
Angled stems, small, white, round frs.; most easily found in moist
forest, e.g., near El Rodeo.
Climbing, viny, sometimes closely clinging or loosely hanging
epiphytes; stems spiny or not, cylindrical and many ribbed, or
broadly several-winged; fls. large with long tube, at least the fr.
Selenicereus testudo (Karw.) Buxb., Kakteen 1(VI): CIIa. 1965;
Cereus testudo Karw., Akademie der Wissenschaften 2:
682. 1837; Deamia testudo (Karw.) Britton & Rose.
Selenicereus miravallenis (F. A. C. Weber) Britton
Plants climbing and tightly clinging on rocks and trees to several
meters, wrapped around branhes like a snake; stems strongly 3--7
angled, the wings 1--7 cm wide, rather thin, all of them often drawn
down towards the substrate and forming chambers inhabited by roots
and ants, green, not glaucous in fresh material, in dry material
often with shiny and exfoliating cuticle; margins shallowly crenate,
the lobes 1--3 x (0--)0.1--0.3 cm, the areoles with dense wool and
numerous tan to reddish brown spines 5--15+ mm, often also with
hair-spines, the spines and spine-hairs often bearing abundant,
minute (<0.1 mm) hairs or pustules. Fls. 20--27 cm; tepals 8--10
cm, white to cream-colored; ovary bracteoles minute, subtending a
dense ball of tan wool and numerous orange to reddish brown
spine-hairs to 20+ mm, often also with short spines. Frs. globose,
ca. 5? cm, bright red, the pulp white, the wool and stiff spines
persistent; seeds somewhat elongate, pear-shaped, 1.8--3 mm, smooth,
Hugs tree branches, usually 5--7 angled, broad, thin wings, longish
spines, large globose, spiny, red fruits with white pulp.
Dry forest, 0--250 m; Guanacaste. Solomon 603 (CR).
Selenicereus wercklei (F.A.C. Weber) Britton & Rose, Cact.
2: 208, f. 288, 289. 1920; Bull. Mus. Hist. Nat. (Paris) 8: 460.
1902. No type designated.
Stems cylindrical, 5--15 mm diam., 6--12 ribbed; areoles 4--7 cm
apart, with a small tuft of wool, but no spines, except rarely on
young stems. Fls. 16--23 cm; tepals 5--7 cm, the outer yellowish
green, the inner white with bright pink at base; ovary with numerous,
small, bracteoles but these mostly obsured by the dense, tan wool and
redish brown spines, 1--8 mm. Frs. ovoid, 5--6 cm (immature),
yellowish green, the wool and stiff spines persistent; seeds
pear-shaped, 1.5--? mm, ?, ? ?.
Moist to wet forest, 600--1100 m; Cord. Guanacaste--Cord. Tilaran,
then disjunct to Rio Terraba canyon. Endemic.
This species is well known, with numerous specimens at INB and CR.
Cylindrical, ribbed stems, no spines except on flowers.
(Hammel 17810). Dried sterile material may be difficult
to distinguish from Weberocereus biolleyi, but which
tends to have lighter gray drying stems and no more than 3- or
4-ribbed, except falsely on drying.
Stenocereus aragonii (F.A.C. Weber) Buxb., Bot. Stud. 12:
99. 1961; Cereus aragonii F.A.C. Weber, Bull. Mus.
Hist. Nat. (Paris) 8: 456. 1902.Weberocereus
The columnar one with the glaucous herringbone pattern at the
Dry forest, coastal hills and river canyons, 10--50 (800) m;
Guanacaste, Valley Central (Rio Grande y Virilla canyons), then
disjunct S to Rio Terraba canyon. Endemic? Chavarria 789.
Pendulous or viny and climbing epiphytes with all manner of stems,
with or without spines; fls. medium sized, short, usually tuberculate
(ovary) tube, sometimes with spines on the fr. The presence or
absence of spines on the stems is variable in nearly all species,
some usually having spines, others usually not. No CR species is
totally without stem spines. Seeds markedly pitted in all CR species
except W. tonduzii.TOP
Weberocereus biolleyi (F.A.C. Weber) Britton & Rose,
Contr. U.S. Natl. Herb. 12: 431. 1909; Rhipsalis
biolleyi F.A.C. Weber, Bull. Mus. Hist. Nat. (Paris) 8: 467.
Stems cylindrical, 2--7 mm diam., smooth to obscurely 3 or 4 angled;
areoles 2--4.5(--7) cm apart, with mostly obscure wool, occasionally
a few, flimsy hair-spines, but seldom with stiff spines. Fls. ca.
4--5(--6) cm; tepals 1.5--2.5 cm, the outer green to pink, the inner
white to pink; ovary with numerous, small, broadly triangular
bracteoles (ca. 0.5 mm) raised on conspicuous bumps and bearing dense
wool and orangish hair-spines 5--10+ mm. Frs. ovoid, 1.5--2.5 cm,
reddish purple with purple pulp, wool and hair-spines persistent;
seeds pear-shaped, 1.2--1.5 mm, surface conspicuously pitted, dull
Wet forest, 2--200 (--1100) m; Atl. slope, from Llanuras de
Tortuguero at least to Playa Bananito (S of Limon). CR, Pan.
Slender, smoothly cylindrical, glabrous stems, small pink fls.,
common on the Atl. lowlands. N.B. are plants with triangular stems
just a form of this, or a distinct species--see W.
panamensis. Also, occasional specimens have spines and may
therefore be confused with W. trichophorus.
Weberocereus bradei (Britton & Rose) G.D. Rowley, Rep. Pl.
Succ. 23(1972): 10. 1972 ; Eccremocactus bradei
Britton & Rose, Contr. U.S. Natl. Herb. 16: 262, t. 83. 1913;
Epiphyllum bradei (Britton & Rose) Standl.
Stems flat and thick (ca. 5 mm), the cladodes 13--60+ x 5--17 cm, the
apex rounded, the lamina drying dull, yellowish tan; margins
shallowly crenate, the lobes 2.5--4.5 x ca. 3 cm, broadest towards
their middle. Areoles with dense wool and often with 4--7 stiff
orangish spines up to 1 cm. Fls. 5--8 cm; tepals 2.5--3.5 cm, the
outer pink, the inner white to; ovary with few, small, narrowly
triangular bracteoles (0.5--3 mm) raised on ridges and subtending
dense wool, sometimes with a few hair-spines. Frs. ovoid, 3.5 cm,
browinsh red with reddish pulp; seeds pear-shaped, ca. 1.3 mm,
surface conspicuously pitted, dull black.
Seasonal wet forest, 20--850 m; Pac. slope only from Pacifico Central
(Carara--Fila Bustamante region) and the Osa Peninsua. Endemic.
By virtue of its large, thick, obovoid "pads" (even sometimes with
spines on the margin) it looks like an epiphytic Opuntia.
Weberocereus imitans (Kimnach & Hutchison) Buxb.,
Succulenta (Amsterdam) 57(6): 125. 1978; Werckleocereus
imitans Kimnach & Hutchison, Cact. Succ. J. (Los Angeles)
28(5): 154. 1956.
Stems flat, relatively thin (< 2mm), the cladodes 35--60 x 6.5--15
cm, the apex +- acute, the lamina drying dull, yellowish tan; margins
very deeply lobed nearly to the midrib, the lobes 1.5--2.5 cm wide
(top to bottom), aimed upwards. Areoles 2.5--5 cm apart, with mostly
obscure wool, occasionally a few, flimsy hair-spines, but seldom with
stiff spines. Fls. 5.5--7 cm; tepals ca. 2.5 cm, the outer yellow
with a reddish center line, the inner cream; ovary with few, small,
broadly triangular bracteoles (< 0.5 mm) raised on obscure bumps
and bearing dense wool and slender, orange spines 3--5 mm. Frs.
ovoid, ca. 3.5 cm, green to red with white pulp, the spines and wool
of the ovary persistent, spines to 10+ mm; seeds pear-shaped,
1.3--1.4 mm, surface conspicuously pitted, dull black.
Seasonal wet forest, 20--900 m; Pac. slope, only from S part of the
country, mostly from the Osa Peninsula and nearby, with a few
collections from Valle de El General. Endemic.
Easy to distinguish among all native CR, flat-stemmed species for its
very deeply lobed stems, short, white fls., no spines (except on
frs.). Known only from southern Pac. slope.
?Weberocereus panamensis Britton & Rose.
Stems sharply 2--4 winged, 7--17 mm wide; areoles 3--4 cm apart, with
mostly obscure wool, lacking both hair-spines and spines. Fls. ca.
4--5(--6)? cm; tepals 1.5--2.5? cm, white?; ovary with numerous,
small, broadly triangular bracteoles (ca. 0.5 mm) raised on
conspicuous bumps and bearing dense wool and orangish hair-spines
5--10+ mm. Frs. ovoid, ca. 3 cm, reddish purple with purple flesh,
wool and hair-spines persistent; seeds pear-shaped, 1.2--1.4 mm,
surface conspicuously pitted, dull black.
Wet forest, 1000? m; Cord. Guanacaste, road to Upala.
This is most likely just a form of W. biolleyi. I've seen no
fls., fl. measurements here are taken from those of W.
Weberocereus tonduzii (F.A.C. Weber) G.D. Rowley, Natl. Cact.
Succ. J. 37(2): 46. 1982; Cereus tonduzii F.A.C. Weber,
Bull. Mus. Hist. Nat. (Paris) 8: 459. 1902.
Plants climbing on rocks and trees to several meters; stems strongly
3 angled, the wings 1--2.5 cm wide, rather thick, green, not glaucous
in fresh material; margins shallowly crenate, the lobes 2--2.5 x
0.2--0.3 cm, the areoles with scant wool and usually with 1--5 short,
dark spines ca. 1 mm. Fls. ca. 6--7(--8) cm; tepals 1.5--2.5 cm, the
outer greenish yellow to pink, the inner cream; ovary bracteoles
minute or lacking, slightly raised on low bumps and bearing a dense
ball of nearly black wool and reddish brown spines to 5 mm. Frs.
globose, ca. 4 cm, yellow with cream-colored pulp, the wool and
spines persistent; seeds pear-shaped, 1.5--2.2 mm, smooth, shiny
Wet forest, 100--2500 m; Pac. slope, Cord. Volcanica Central (Grecia)
and Cord. Talamanca. Endemic. Gina Umana
Rare species from rather high elevation. The unpitted seeds are
unusual for the genus, perhaps belongs with Selenicereus?
Weberocereus trichophorus H. Johnson & Kimnach, Cact.
Succ. J. (Los Angeles) 35: 205. 1963.
Plants with abundant adventitious roots, climbing high in trees;
stems cylindrical, 8--12 mm diam., smooth to obscurely 5--7 angled;
areoles (spine clusters) ca. 1.5 cm apart, with copious tan wool, and
many hair-spines (5--20 mm) and stiff spines (3--12 mm). Fls. ca.
4--6 cm; tepals 1.5--2.5 cm, the outer pink ("rose red"), the inner
white; ovary with numerous, +- ligulate bracteoles (0.5--1 mm) raised
on low bumps and bearing dense wool, but all obscured by the
abundant, orangish hair-spines ca. 10 mm. Frs. ovoid, 2--3 cm,
reddish, the pulp reddish purple, the hairs persistent, some of them
as stiff spines; seeds pear-shaped, 1.1--1.3(--1.7) mm, surface
conspicuously pitted, dull black.
Wet forest, 1--100 m; Atl. slope, Puerto Viejo de Limon to Sixaola.
Easy to distinguish for its slender, cylindrical stems with spines
and rusty, woolly hairs. Known only from the Atl. coast S of Cahuita.
It is surely in Pan., and I've seen sterile material from Nic. The
parenthetical and large seed measurement is from Johnson and
Kimnach's original description of a greenhouse plant; the smaller
size range being that found in fruits of field-collected, herbarium
material, Hammel 18140. As mentioned by Johnson and
Kimnach, the earlier name Cereus estrellensis F.A.C.
Weber ex Werckle, no type specimen known, may refer to this species.
It is described as a climbing, cylindrical and spiny stemmed cactus
from the same region where W. trichophorus is the only cactus
known that could fit that description. Good enough reason to bring
that name out of limbo? Need to get Werkle's mention of this
Weberocereus tunilla (F.A.C. Weber) Britton & Rose, Contr.
U.S. Natl. Herb. 12: 432. 1909; Cereus tunilla F.A.C.
Weber, Bull. Mus. Hist. Nat. (Paris) 8: 460. 1902. Cereus
gonzalezii F. A. C. Weber. No type designated, original
description probably from live material from greenhouse in Paris,
sent to Weber by way of Werckle. Type (Werckle s.n., Tablon near
Cartago, 1400 m; ca. 1901) would be at P if such exists.
Stems (2--)4(--6) angled, 6--23 mm diam., the areoles 2--4(--6) cm
apart, with dense wool and numerous stiff spines (3--5 mm). Fls. 6--7
cm; tepals 1.3--2.7 cm, the outer pinkish ambar, the inner pink;
ovary with numerous, triangular bracteoles (ca. 1--2 mm) raised on
conspicuous bumps and bearing dense wool and white hair-spines 2--8
mm. Frs. ovoid (oblong), 4.5 cm, light pink, the pulp dark red, wool,
hair-spines and stiff spines persistent; seeds pear-shaped, 1.5--2
mm, surface conspicuously pitted, dull black.
Wet forest, 1400 m; near Cartago. Endemic.
I've seen no material of this: the description here is modified
directly from Kimnach (1968. C & S J, 40(3)113--115). Since his
measurements were certainly taken from live material and those here
of other species from dry material, size differences especially of
stem width and fl. length may be exagertated.
Schombergara truncatus or whatever the common cult.
Species (Christmas Cactus) is, should be mentioned only under the
Unknown species published from CR
Cereus estrellensis F. A. C. Weber Monatsschr. Kakteenk. 15:
According to Britton & Rose "the stems are 6-angled; the flowers
are small, rosy to salmon-colored, and nocturnal....may belong to our
genus Weberocereus" They say that Wercklé reports it as
similar to Cereus nycticaullus (=Selenicereus
pteranthus) but weaker and more spiny. By this and the location
(Valle de Estrella, I presume) it might very well be an older name
for W. trichophorus. Or a synonym of W.
biolleyi. Johnson and Kimnach also mentioned this problem when
they described W. trichophorus.