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
Stem: Its main stem is upright to arching and resembles a woody
plant more than a cacti, sometime it form a very spiny woody greys-brown
trunk up to 1 meter tall and 10-20 cm in diameter that bears numerose
branches. Twigs quite vine-like, fleshy, glabrous and green.
Areoles: White round with
tiny hairs around the foliar nodes .
Spines: 1 to 8 up to 4 cm long, very sharp, acicular arranged in
clusters or spreading but usually
absent on new growth. On the older stems and trunk the spine are
more robust and numerose (Up to 90) and up to 6,5 cm long. It is however
quite variable, some plant have spines, but others have none at all.
Leaves: Thick but fleshy,
variable in size, elliptic to oblong lanceolate 5-15 cm long, somewhat
pointed narrowing toward the base into a short petiole. Venation
pinnate and prominent below.
Flower: Very shovy 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.
Blooming seson: Flowering is during warm months and fruit is born
by the flowers.
Fruit: 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)
Two variety are
grandiflora var. grandiflora with receptacle brats green and
rarely curved and a pink flowers it is native to eastern Brazil but
widely cultivated in the tropical Americas.
grandiflora var. violacea with 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.
- Often used
for edges it is planted by pushing cutting into the ground, its spiny
stem soon forming a capital barrier.
- Fruit are
sometime eaten. The leaves are used in green salads, or can be cooked.
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 -3°C. Deciduous below 4°C.
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)
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