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May 2015

Did you know that the plant Pereskia grandiflora viewed as representing the "ancestral cactus," although its placement within Cactaceae has remained uncertain?

Rose Cactus (Pereskia grandifolia). Flowers and fruits.

Rose Cactus - Pereskia grandifolia

Pereskia, as traditionally circumscribed, is a genus of 17 tropical species and varieties of cacti that do not look much like other types of cacti, having substantial leaves and thin stems. They originate from the region between Brazil and Mexico. Members of this genus are usually referred to as lemon vines, rose cacti or leaf cacti, though the latter also refers to the genus Epiphyllum. The genus is named after Nicolas-Claude Fabri de Peiresc, a 16th-century French botanist.

Species of Pereskia generally resemble other types of plants, such as roses. Pereskia species have large, bright green, privet-like leaves and long spiny stems. Not always succulent plants, they can be classified as shrubs, climbing plants or slightly succulent trees. However, close examination shows spines developing from areoles, and the distinctive floral cup of the cactus family. Unlike Pereskiopsis, Maihuenia, Quiabentia and Austrocylindropuntia which have persistent succulent leaves, Pereskia is the only cactus genus that has persistent non-succulent leaves. It is believed that the ancestor of all cacti resembled Pereskia.

Pereskia grandifolia (Rose Cactus; syn. Cactus grandifolius Link, Rhodocactus grandifolius (Haw.) F.M.Knuth, Cactus rosa Vell.) is a tree native to the Northeastern Brazil restingas. This plant is often used as a medicinal plant and an ornamental plant. In addition, it has edible leaves.

Pereskia grandifolia is ever green to deciduous (depending on growing conditions) small tree or shrub, 2 to 5 m tall with a rounded crown. It is an example of a non-succulent primitive cactus. This is an odd cactus with areoles and (surprise) with woody trunk.

Although it is a cactus by classification, it takes the form of a shrub or small tree, 2-5 metres high, with a grayish-brown trunk up to 20 cm in diameter. The areolees are rounded cushion-shaped grayish or brownish tomentum; on the twigs they are 3-7 mm diameter and up to 12 mm on the main trunk. The spines range from black to brown, the number at each areole gradually increasing with age; new twigs can have spineless areoles, while the trunk areoles may have up to 90 spines, each 2-6.5 cm long. The leaves are thick but fleshy, vary in size from 9-23 cm long, entire, with shapes ranging from elliptic to ovate and obovate-lanceolate. Venation pinnate and prominent below.

The flowers are showy and rose-like, 3-5 cm in diameter, lasting for 2 days, sepals green, petals usually pink or purplish (but also white or tan) in short few flowered terminal panicles, centered by yellow stamens with red filaments, the stigma and style is white. Ovary bearing large leaves. The dense inflorescence develops at the ends of stems, usually with 10-15 flowers, but sometimes with 30 or more. Flowering is during warm months and fruit is born by the flowers.

The fruit is 4-10 cm long, red, green or (usually) yellow coloured pear-shaped and more or less triangular. This fruit is a curious proliferating structure, bearing 3-4 cm long leaves, which ultimately fall away, looking more part of the stems than actual fruits. Several may seeded fruit are attached at a single peduncle. It smells good and is considered by some edible only at full ripening (otherwise it is very astringent). The leaves are used in green salads, or can be cooked.

Leuenberger recognizes varieties grandifolia and violacea. Var. grandifolia is distinguished by having green bracts and a pink flower; it is native to eastern Brazil but widely cultivated in the tropical Americas.

Var. violacea has purplish-pink or purple bracts and flowers. It was discovered sometime before 1972, initially described as P. bahiensis, but is only distinguished from var. grandifolia by colour. It is apparently native to Espirito Santo and Minas Gerais, but planted by locals in neighbouring states.

In cultivation Pereskia grandifolia is n Nearly indestructible. The plant requires full sun or light shade (but withstand dense shade) and well drained soils, preferably rich neutral organic soils, but may tolerate acidic ones. Drought resistant, regular water during the growing season for better growth, leaves drop during drought. Semi hardy to -3C. Deciduous below 4C.

It's very easy to propagate from cuttings or seeds, contrarily to most other cacti, Pereskia cuttings should be planted immediately without a dry out period. (you can also let them sit in a jar of water).

Unusual in Collections Pereskias are really not very well-known and usually found only in botanical gardens. The real reason for their rarity has something to do with the fact they need highly a tropical climate to prosperate. Yet, they are very interesting plants.

Source:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pereskia
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pereskia_grandifolia
http://www.cactus-art.biz/schede/PERESKIA/Pereskia_grandiflora/
Pereskia_grandiflora_violacea/Pereskia_grandiflora_violacea.htm

 

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Marimo - Aegagropila linnaei
Achocha/Caigua - Inca cucumber - Cyclanthera pedata
Rubber Tree - Hevea brasiliensis
Sugar cane - Saccharum officinarum
Sacha inchi - Plukenetia volubilis
Coffea - Coffee Tree - Coffea arabica
Liquorice - Licorice - Glycyrrhiza glabra
Mullein -Verbascum thapsus
Iceplant - Mesembryanthemum crystallinum
Chayote - Sechium edule
Roselle - Hibiscus sabdariffa
Black Goji - Lycium ruthenicum Murray
Rose Cactus - Pereskia grandifolia
Durian - Durio zibethinus
Jackfruit tree - Artocarpus heterophyllus
Cassabanana - Sicana odorifera
Chilean myrtle - Arrayan - Luma apiculata
Kurrajong - Brachychiton populneus
Rice-paper Plant -Tetrapanax papyrifer
Shell Ginger - Alpinia zerumbet
Harlequin Glorybower - Clerodendrum trichotomum
Coco de Mer - Lodoicea maldivica
Silver Tree - Leucadendron argenteum
Buffaloberry - Shepherdia argentea
Himalayan Honeysuckle - Leycesteria formosa
Raisin Tree - Hovenia dulcis
Borojo - Alibertia patinoi - Borojoa patinoi
Butterfly Pea - Clitoria ternatea
Honey Flower - Melianthus major
Ombu - Phytolacca dioica
Lion's Ear - Wild Dagga - Leonotis leonurus
Moringa - Miracle Tree - Moringa oleifera
Sea Daffodil - Pancratium maritimum
Spear Lily - Gymea - Doryanthes
Camphor tree - Cinnamomum camphora
Waterwheel - Aldrovanda vesiculosa
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Four o'clock - Marvel of Peru - Mirabilis jalapa
Dead Mans Fingers - Decaisnea
Bitter Melon - Momordica charantia
Shoapnuts Tree - Shoapberry - Sapindus
Acerola - Malpighia
Monkey Ladder - Sea Heart - Entada gigas
Cherimoya - Annona cherimola
Caper - Capparis spinosa
Lithops - Living Stones
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Mickey Mouse bush - Ochna serrulata
Cow's Udder - Solanum mammosum
Miracle fruit - Synsepalum dulcificum
Akebia - Akebia quinata
Chilean Firebush - Embothrium coccineum
Caesalpinia - Caesalpinia pulcherrima
Welwitschia - Welwitschia mirabilis
Saguaro - Carnegiea gigantea
Schisandra - Schisandra chinensis
Monarda - Bee balm - Bergamot
Tamarind - Tamarindus indica
Neomarica - Walking Iris
Red hot poker - Kniphofia - Tritoma
Sikkim rhubarb - Rheum nobile
Reseda - Mignonette
Paulownia - Paulownia tomentosa
Belamcanda chinensis - Leopard lily
Blue Poppy - Meconopsis
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Tamarillo - Cyphomandra betacea
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Stevia - Stevia rebaudiana
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Clematis
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Jade vine - Strongylodon macrobotrys
Sansevieria - Snake Plant
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Yareta - Azorella compacta
African tulip tree - Spathodea campanulata
Angel's Trumpets - Brugmansia
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Sausage Tree - Kigelia pinnata
Castor Oil Plant - Ricinus communis
Firewheel Tree - Stenocarpus sinuatus
Bat Flower - Tacca
Snake gourd - Trichosanthes cucumerina
Sedum
Hydnora - Hydnora africana
Pickerel Weed - Pontederia
Argan - Argania spinosa
Astilbe - False Goats Beard
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Aquilegia - Columbine
Cassiope
Sweet Box - Sarcococca
Christmas Cactus - Schlumbergera
Foxtail Lily - Eremurus
Rue - Ruta graveolens
Pittosporum
Ylang-Ylang - Cananga odorata
Rose of Jericho - Anastatica hierochuntica
Gunnera
Waterlily - Nymphaea
Calico Flower - Aristolochia
Daylily - Hemerocallis
Contorted hazel - Corylus avellana Contorta
Torch Ginger - Etlingera elatior
Mistletoe - Viscum album
Devil´s claw - Harpagophytum procumbens
Teasel - Dipsacus
Pampas grass - Gynerium argenteum - Cortaderia Selloanna
Purple coneflower - Echinacea purpurea
Coral Tree - Erythrina crista-galli
Portulaca
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Field Poppy - Papaver Rhoeas
Narcissus - Daffodil
Mimosa pudica - Sensitive Plant
Boxwood - Buxus sempervirens
Firethorn - Pyracantha
Star of Bethlehem - Ornithogalum
Cosmos
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Papyrus - Cyperus papyrus
Zinnia
Honeysuckle - Lonicera
Passiflora - Passion Flower
Calendula - Marigold
Lupine - Lupinus
Canna - Indian Shot
Witch Hazel - Hamamelis
Oak - Quercus
Brunsvigia - Candelabra Flower
Tree peony - Paeonia suffruticosa
Olive - Olea europaea
Cornflower - Centaurea cyanus
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Oleander - Nerium Oleander
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Sweet Pea - Lathyrus odoratus
Chaenomeles - Flowering Quince
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Amaryllis - Hippeastrum
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Bay Laurel - Laurus nobilis
Gloriosa
Bamboo
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Artichoke - Cynara scolymus
Clivia - Clivia Miniata
Dipladenia - Dipladenia sanderii
Date palm - Phoenix dactylifera
Peach - Prunus persica
Almond - Prunus amygdalus
Willow - Salix
Pomegranate - Punica granatum
Protea cynaroides
Colchicum autumnale
Bird of Paradise - Strelitzia reginae
Cardon - Pachycereus pringlei
Wolffia arrhiza
Puya raimondii
Fuchsia
Asphodelus - Asphodel
Primula - Primerose
Dicentra spectabilis - Bleeding Heart
Edelweiss - Leontopodium alpinum
Helleborus Niger - Christmas Rose
Zantedeschia - Calla Lily
Fritillaria imperialis - Crown imperial
Aster
Heliconia
Common Sunflower - Helianthus annuus
Bee Orchid - Orphys apifera
Convalaria majalis - Lily of the Valley - Muguet
Syringa Vurgaris - Lilac
Viola
Impantiens
Snowdrop - Galanthus
Poinsettia - Euphorbia pulcherrima
Dionaea muscipula
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Sea anemone
Amorrhophallus titanum
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