Acanthocereus tetragonus

(Linnaeus) Hummelinck

Succulenta (Netherlands) 20: 165. 1938.

Common names: Barbed-wire cactus triangle cactus chaco
Basionym: Cactus tetragonus Linnaeus Sp. Pl. 1: 466. 1753
Synonyms: Acanthocereus floridanus Small ex Britton & Rose Acanthocereus pentagonus (Linnaeus) Britton & Rose Cereus pentagonus (Linnaeus) Haworth Cereus tetragonus (Linnaeus) Miller
Treatment appears in FNA Volume 4. Treatment on page 155. Mentioned on page 150, 154.

Shrubs, clambering or arching-reclining, branched near base, sometimes with well-developed trunks. Stems dark green, growing to 200 cm per season; ribs from base to rib crest 3–5 cm, less than 1 cm thick. Spines abruptly thickened at base, extremely variable. Flowers 14–20 cm; flower tube 8–15 cm, ± tuberculate, areoles few, usually 1 spine per areole; outer tepals narrowly lanceolate to linear, 3.5–4 cm, apex acuminate; inner tepals broadly linear, 3.5–4.5 cm, apex acuminate; ovary with small scales and usually 3–5 diverging spines per areole. Fruits bright red, ovoid to oblong, 30–80(–100) mm, slightly tuberculate, shiny, edible, sweet. 2n = 22 [as A. pentagonus (Linnaeus) Britton & Rose].

Phenology: Flowering mid summer–fall.
Habitat: Sandy soils of dense thickets, hammocks, bottomlands of coastal areas
Elevation: 0-10 m


V4 299-distribution-map.gif

Fla., Tex., Mexico, West Indies, Central America, n South America, introduced Pacific Islands (Hawaii).


The Florida populations have been called Acanthocereus floridanus but now appear to be the northernmost variants of the highly variable species A. tetragonus, which occurs throughout the Caribbean region (D. R. Hunt 1991).

The common name “triangle cactus” refers to the mature stems in cross section; the epithet “tetragonus” alludes to the juvenile stems, which often have four angles.

Selected References


Lower Taxa

... more about "Acanthocereus tetragonus"
Bruce D. Parfitt +  and Arthur C. Gibson +
(Linnaeus) Hummelinck +
Cactus tetragonus +
Barbed-wire cactus +, triangle cactus +  and chaco +
Fla. +, Tex. +, Mexico +, West Indies +, Central America +, n South America +  and introduced Pacific Islands (Hawaii). +
0-10 m +
Sandy soils of dense thickets, hammocks, bottomlands of coastal areas +
Flowering mid summer–fall. +
Succulenta (Netherlands) +
Illustrated +
Acanthocereus floridanus +, Acanthocereus pentagonus +, Cereus pentagonus +  and Cereus tetragonus +
Acanthocereus tetragonus +
Acanthocereus +
species +