Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk (PIER)

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Acanthocereus tetragonus
(L.) Hummelinck, Cactaceae
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Present on Pacific Islands?  yes

Primarily a threat at high elevations?  no

Other Latin names:  Acanthocereus pentagonus (L.) Britton & Rose; Acanthocereus pitajaya sensu Croizat; Cactus pentagonus L.; Cactus tetragonus L.

Common name(s): [more details]

English: barbed-wire cactus, sword-pear, triangle cactus

Habit:  succulent

Description:  "Stem clambering, usually 2 to 3, sometimes 7 meters high, but when growing in the open more or less arched and rooting at the tips, then making other arches and thus forming large colonies; old trunk becoming nearly round, 5 cm in diameter or more, covered with a thick mucilaginous, spineless cortex and a hard-wood axis with only a small pithy cavity; joints 3 to 8 cm broad, 3 to 5-angled, low-crenate; juvenile growth nearly terete, with 6 to 8 low ribs, approximate areoles and numerous short acicular spines; areoles on normal branches 3 to 5 cm apart; spines gray, acicular to subulate, various; radials at first 6 or 7, 1 to 4 cm long; central spine often solitary, longer than the radials; spines of old areoles often as many as 12, of which several are centrals; flowers 14 to 20 cm long; tube and ovary bearing conspicuous areoles with brown felt and several subulate spines; outer perianth-segments green; inner perianth-segments white, acuminate; fruit oblong, red, edible; cotyledons broadly ovate, 5 to 8 mm long, tick, united at base, gradually passing below into the spindle-shaped hypocotyl" (Britton & Rose, 1920).

"Stems arching to 2-3 m high but to 7 m long, rooting at tips; juvenile stems terete with 6 to 8 ribs, mature growth (3- or) 4- or 5-ribbed, shallowly undulate between areoles, spines gray, acicular, 10-12, to 3.5 cm long. Flowers with hypanthium 14-20 cm long, spiny. Mature fruits oblong, 5-7 cm long, 4 cm in diameter, purple to dark red" (Howard, 1989; p. 401).

Habitat/ecology:  "Sandy soils of dense thickets, hammocks, bottomlands of coastal areas; 0-10 m" (Flora of North America). In Hawai‘i, "naturalized on the southern coast of Kauai in dry secondary scrubland" (Lorence et al., 1995; p. 27). In New Caledonia, "cette espèce, constituant depuis longtemps à Boulouparis des fourrés étendus et impénétrables, reste peu commune ailleurs" (MacKee, 1994; p. 25).

Propagation:  Seed, locally by rooting from tips (see description above) (Britton & Rose, 1920).

Native range:  Florida to Texas, Mexico, Central America, Greater Antilles, Lesser Antilles, northern South America (Howard, 1989; p. 401).

Presence:

Pacific
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Kaua‘i Island introduced
invasive
Lorence, David H./Flynn, Timothy W./Wagner, Warren L. (1995) (p. 27)
Voucher cited: D. Lorence & T. Flynn 6277 (BISH, PTBG)
New Caledonia
New Caledonia
New Caledonia Islands introduced
invasive
Meyer, Jean-Yves (2000) (p. 99)
As Acanthocereus pentagonus
New Caledonia
New Caledonia Archipelago
Île Grande Terre introduced
invasive
Gargominy, Oliver/Bouchet, Philipe/Pascal, Michel/Jaffre, Tanguy/Tourneu, Jean-Christophe (1996) (p. 379)
As Acanthocereus pentagonus
Constitue depuis longtemps à Boulouparis des fourrés étendus et impénétrables; peu commune ailleurs.
New Caledonia
New Caledonia Archipelago
Île Grande Terre introduced
invasive
Tassin, Jacques (2005)
As Acanthocereus pentagonus (L.)
New Caledonia
New Caledonia Archipelago
Île Grande Terre introduced
invasive
MacKee, H. S. (1994) (p. 25)
As Acanthocereus pentagonus (L.) Britt. & Rose; voucher cited MacKee 41015
Philippines
Philippine Islands
Philippine Islands introduced
cultivated
Merrill, Elmer D. (1923) (p. 129)
Occasional in hedges where planted.
Pacific Rim
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
Australia
Australia (continental)
Queensland introduced
invasive
Queensland Herbarium (2002) (p. 1)
Costa Rica
Costa Rica
Costa Rica (Republic of) native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
El Salvador
El Salvador
El Salvador (Republic of) native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Guatemala
Guatemala
Guatemala (Republic of) native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Honduras
Honduras
Honduras (Republic of) native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Mexico
Mexico
Mexico (United Mexican States) native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Nicaragua
Nicaragua
Nicaragua (Republic of) native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Panama
Panama
Panama (Republic of) native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Also reported from
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
United States (continental except west coast)
United States (other states)
United States (other states) native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Texas
United States (continental except west coast)
United States (other states)
USA (Florida) native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)


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This page was created on 1 JAN 1999 and was last updated on 19 FEB 2013.