Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk (PIER)

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Selenicereus megalanthus
(K. Schumann ex Vaupel) Moran, Cactaceae
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Present on Pacific Islands?  yes

Primarily a threat at high elevations?  no

Other Latin names:  Cereus megalanthus K. Schum. ex Vaupel; Hylocereus megalanthus (K. Schum. ex Vaupel) Ralf Bauer

Common name(s): [more details]

English: pitahaya, pitaya, yellow dragonfruit, yellow pitaya

Spanish: pitahaya amarilla, pitajaya amarilla, pitaya amarilla

Habit:  vine

Description:  "A terrestrial or epiphytic cactus vine, with fleshy, procumbent, scandent (climbing) or pendant stems producing aerial roots.  Stems are robust, green, three-ribbed, 1.5 cm thick, with slightly undulating margins, white areoles bearing 1-3 yellowish spines, 2-3 mm long.  Flowers are nocturnal, large, white and funnel-shaped, 32-38 cm long; pericarpel (hypanthium) ovoid to globose with large flattened tubercles and felt-like, spiny areoles subtended by small bracteoles.  Outer tepals are long, green, triangular-acute; inner tepals 100 cm long, 3.5 cm wide, white; stamens numerous inserted in two zones, yellow; style yellow, stigma lobes numerous, green.  Fruit ovoid, tuberculate, spiny, yellow with numerous black seeds embedded in a sweet, juicy white pulp and much smaller than the red pitayas"  (Lim, 2012; p. 641).

"Stems may lie along the ground (procumbent), climb (scandent), or hang (pendent). Stems are often only 1.5 cm thick, producing areoal roots; 3 ribs; margins slightly undulating; white areoles; 1-3 spines 2-3 mm long, yellowish; several hairs on young growth, britle-like; green epidermis. Flowers are nocturnal and funnel-shaped, 32-38 cm long; pericarpel is ovoid or slightly globose, tubercles are large and flattened, with felt-like and spiny areoles subtended by small bracteoles; receptacle elongate; outer tepals long, green, triangular-acute; inner tepals 100 cm long, 3.5 cm wide, white, broader; stamens numerous inserted in two zones, yellow; style yellow, stigma lobes numerous, green. Fruit: ovoid, tuberculate, spiny, yellow (or sometimes red?), seeds black; interior edible, having a pleasant, mildly sweet flavor" (Wikipedia).

Habitat/ecology:  In its native habitat, "in tropical Riparian forests. It is epiphytic or xerophytic"  (Wikipedia).  "In its native range, yellow pitaya occurs in riverine forests.  It grows well in tropical and subtropical climates, free of frosts and freezes.  Initial estimates from native areas suggest that optimum temperatures for growth are 18-25° C.  It tolerates some shade and may be injured by extreme sunlight although it thrives in sunny position in their native countries.  Like other pitayas, it is adapted to a wide range of soils provided they are well-drained including calcareous and moderately saline soils.  (Lim, 2012; p. 640).

Propagation:  Seed

Native range:  Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Venezuela; also cultivated (Lim, 2012; p. 640).

Presence:

Pacific
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
Ecuador (Galápagos Islands)
San Cristóbal Group
San Cristóbal Island introduced
cultivated
Charles Darwin Foundation (2008)
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Kaua‘i Island   National Tropical Botanical Garden (U.S.A. Hawaii. Kalaheo.) (1996) (voucher ID: PTBG 23615)
Taxon name on voucher: Selenicereus megalanthus
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)
Australia (continental) introduced
invasive
Randall, R. P. (2007) (p. 441)
South America (Pacific rim)
South America (Pacific rim)
Colombia (Republic of) native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
South America (Pacific rim)
South America (Pacific rim)
Perú (Republic of) native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)


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

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This page was created on 12 JUL 2013 and was last updated on 6 AUG 2013.