Snake Cactus, Serpent Cactus, Queen of the Night, Junco, Junco Espinoso, Pitahiyita

Peniocereus serpentinus

Family: Cactaceae (kak-TAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Peniocereus (pen-ee-oh-KER-ee-us) (Info)
Species: serpentinus (ser-pen-TEE-nus) (Info)
Synonym:Nyctocereus serpentinus
Synonym:Cereus serpentinus
Synonym:Cactus serpentinus
Synonym:Nyctocereus castellanosii
Synonym:Cereus ambiguus
» View all varieties of Orchid Cactus


Edible Fruits and Nuts

Tropicals and Tender Perennials

Cactus and Succulents

Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

Flowers are fragrant

Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Where to Grow:

Suitable for growing in containers


24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

36-48 in. (90-120 cm)

4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)

6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)

8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)


15-18 in. (38-45 cm)

18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

36-48 in. (90-120 cm)


USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:

Sun to Partial Shade

Light Shade


Plant has spines or sharp edges; use extreme caution when handling

Bloom Color:

White/Near White

Bloom Time:

Mid Summer


Unknown - Tell us

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

From woody stem cuttings

Allow cut surface to callous over before planting

From seed; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:

Allow unblemished fruit to ripen; clean and dry seeds

Unblemished fruit must be significantly overripe before harvesting seed; clean and dry seeds

Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:


Canoga Park, California

Casselberry, Florida

Milton, Florida

Tampa, Florida

Brazoria, Texas

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Gardeners' Notes:


On Sep 2, 2006, Xenomorf from Valley of the Sun, AZ (Zone 9b) wrote:

More synonyms of this plant are Cereus splendens, Cactus ambiguus & Echinocereus serpentinus.
Other common names are "Mexican Night-blooming Cereus & Reina de la Noche"


On Apr 1, 2003, Kelli from L.A. (Canoga Park), CA (Zone 10a) wrote:

This is one of several species known as queen of the night. It is a night-blooming cactus. The flowers only last one night. The flowers are very fragrant, like gardenias.