Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk (PIER)

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Hylocereus undatus
(Haw.) Britton & Rose, Cactaceae
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Present on Pacific Islands?  yes

Primarily a threat at high elevations?  no

Other Latin names:  Cereus undatus Haw.

Common name(s): [more details]

Chinese: liang tian chi

English: belle of the night, dragon fruit, moonlight cactus, night-blooming cereus, queen of the night, red pitaya, strawberry pear

French: belle de nuit, pitahaya rouge, pitaya, raquette tortue

Hawaiian: pāniniokapunahou, pāpipi pua

Spanish: chacam, chak-wob, junco tapatío, pitahaya, pitahaya dulce, pitahaya orejona, reina de la noche, zacamb

Habit:  succulent

Description:  "Sprawling terrestrial or epiphytic vines; stems 3-winged, the wings 2-3 cm wide, thin, crenate with calloused margins.  Areoles with 1-4 conical spines 1-3 mm long.  Flowers nocturnal, 25-30 cm long, 15-25 cm in diameter; sepaloid perianth parts greenish white, linear to linear-lanceolate, 10-15 cm long, 1-1.5 cm wide, inner perianth parts white, oblanceolate, 10-15 cm long, ca 2.5 cm wide; staminal filaments cream-colored; style cream-colored, 17.5-20 cm long; stigma lobes up to 24, cream-colored.  Berries red, fleshy, splitting, oblong, 5-12.5 cm long, 4-9 cm in diameter."  (Wagner et al., 1999; pp. 418-419)

"Climbing or scrambling succulent plant to at least 10 m high on trees.  Stems triangular, jointed.  Margins scalloped, becoming horny.  Areoles c. 4 cm apart; areolar spines to 4 mm long" (Sykes, 1970; p. 53).

Habitat/ecology:  Tropics.  Commonly introduced as an ornamental and for its fruits but can naturalize.  Pollinated by bats in its native Mexico.  In Hawai‘i, "widely cultivated..., rarely setting fruit, but spreading, often extensively, vegetatively"  (Wagner et al., 1999; pp. 418-419). In New Caledonia, "est commune, vigoureuse et parfois spontanée" (MacKee, 1994; p. 25).

Propagation:  Seed, cuttings, pieces.

Native range:  "Not known, but it is widespread throughout tropical America and was distributed from there to other parts of the world.  Native Americans likely transported the species throughout the inhabited regions of the Americas before the arrival of Europeans, making it hard to establish the place of wild origin"  (Staples & Herbst, 2005; p. 213).

Presence:

Pacific
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
Chile (offshore islands)
Juan Fernández Islands
Isla Más a Tierra (Robinson Crusoe Island) introduced
invasive
cultivated
Atkinson, Rachel/Sawyer, John (2011)
Chile (offshore islands)
Juan Fernández Islands
Isla Más a Tierra (Robinson Crusoe Island) introduced
cultivated
Danton, Philippe/Perrier, Christophe/Martinez Reyes, Guido (2006) (pp. 486, 532, 554)
"En RC, está presente en único jardine del pueblo de San Juan Bautista.  No es cierto que el clima le conviene muy bien, pero este cactus debe ser vigilado muy de cerca".
Cook Islands
Southern Cook Islands
Rarotonga Island cultivated
Sykes, Bill (year unknown)
French Polynesia
Marquesas Islands
Nuku Hiva (Nukahiva) Island introduced
cultivated
Florence, J. (2004) (p. 93)
French Polynesia
Marquesas Islands
Nuku Hiva (Nukahiva) Island introduced
cultivated
Florence, J./Chevillotte, H./Ollier, C./Meyer, J.-Y. (2013)
Cultivée
French Polynesia
Marquesas Islands
Ua Huka (Huahuna, Uahuka) Island introduced
cultivated
Lorence, David H./Wagner, Warren L. (2013)
French Polynesia
Marquesas Islands
Ua Huka (Huahuna, Uahuka) Island   National Tropical Botanical Garden (U.S.A. Hawaii. Kalaheo.) (2003) (voucher ID: PTBG 40935)
Taxon name on voucher: Hylocereus undatus
French Polynesia
Society Islands
Tahiti Island introduced
cultivated
Florence, J. (2004) (p. 93)
French Polynesia
Society Islands
Tahiti Island introduced
cultivated
Florence, J./Chevillotte, H./Ollier, C./Meyer, J.-Y. (2013)
Cultivée
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Hawai‘i (Big) Island introduced
invasive
cultivated
Wagner, Warren L./Herbst, Derral R./Sohmer, S. H. (1999) (pp. 418-419)
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Kaho‘olawe Island introduced
invasive
cultivated
Wagner, Warren L./Herbst, Derral R./Sohmer, S. H. (1999) (pp. 418-419)
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Kaua‘i Island introduced
invasive
cultivated
Wagner, Warren L./Herbst, Derral R./Sohmer, S. H. (1999) (pp. 418-419)
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Lāna‘i Island introduced
invasive
cultivated
Wagner, Warren L./Herbst, Derral R./Sohmer, S. H. (1999) (pp. 418-419)
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Maui Island introduced
invasive
cultivated
Wagner, Warren L./Herbst, Derral R./Sohmer, S. H. (1999) (pp. 418-419)
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Moloka‘i Island introduced
invasive
cultivated
Wagner, Warren L./Herbst, Derral R./Sohmer, S. H. (1999) (pp. 418-419)
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Ni‘ihau Island introduced
invasive
cultivated
Wagner, Warren L./Herbst, Derral R./Sohmer, S. H. (1999) (pp. 418-419)
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
O‘ahu Island introduced
invasive
cultivated
Wagner, Warren L./Herbst, Derral R./Sohmer, S. H. (1999) (pp. 418-419)
Nauru
Nauru Island
Nauru Island introduced
cultivated
Thaman, R. R./Fosberg, F. R./Manner, H. I./Hassall, D. C. (1994) (p. 110)
New Caledonia
New Caledonia Archipelago
Île Grande Terre introduced
invasive
cultivated
MacKee, H. S. (1994) (p. 25)
Vouchers cited: Guillaumin & Baumann 7103, MacKee 25130
Niue
Niue
Niue Island introduced
Sykes, W. R. (1970) (p. 53)
Voucher cited: CHR 168865
Niue
Niue
Niue Island introduced
invasive
Space, James C./Flynn, Tim (2000) (p. 24)
Niue
Niue
Niue Island introduced
invasive
cultivated
Space, James C./Waterhouse, Barbara M./Newfield, Melanie/Bull, Cate (2004) (p. 11)
Philippines
Philippine Islands
Philippine Islands introduced
cultivated
Merrill, Elmer D. (1923) (p. 129)
Occasionally palnted for ornamental purposes.
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)
New South Wales introduced
invasive
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Naturalized
Australia
Australia (continental)
Queensland introduced
invasive
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Naturalized
China
China
China (People's Republic of) introduced
invasive
cultivated
Zhengyi, Wu/Raven, Peter H./Deyuan, Hong (2013)
Trees, rocks, maritime scrub; sea level to 300 m. S. Fujian, S. Guangdong, S.W. Guangxi, Hainan.
China
China
Hong Kong introduced
cultivated
Wu, Te-lin (2001) (p. 75)
Singapore
Singapore
Singapore (Republic of) introduced
cultivated
Chong, Kwek Yan/Tan, Hugh T. W./Corlett, Richard T. (2009) (p. 50)
Cultivated only
Taiwan
Taiwan Island
Taiwan Island introduced
invasive
cultivated
Zhengyi, Wu/Raven, Peter H./Deyuan, Hong (2013)
Trees, rocks, maritime scrub; sea level to 300 m.
Indian Ocean
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
La Réunion (France)
La Réunion Island
La Réunion Island introduced
invasive
cultivated
Lavergne, Christophe (2006)
"Cultivé/naturalisé"
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)
USA (Florida) introduced
invasive
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Naturalized

Comments:  Both cultivated and wild specimens on Niue (Space & Flynn, 2000).


Need more info? Have questions? Comments? Information to contribute? Contact PIER! (pier@hear.org)

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This page was created on 1 JAN 1999 and was last updated on 13 JUL 2008.