Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Triangle Cactus, Dildoe Cactus, Barbed-wire Cactus
Acanthocereus tetragonus

Family: Cactaceae (kak-TAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Acanthocereus (a-kan-tho-KER-ee-us) (Info)
Species: tetragonus (tet-ra-GON-us) (Info)

Synonym:Acanthocereus floridanus
Synonym:Acanthocereus pentagonus
Synonym:Cactus tetragonus
Synonym:Cereus dussii
Synonym:Cereus pentagonus

9 members have or want this plant for trade.

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Vines and Climbers
Cactus and Succulents

4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)
6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)
8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)
10-12 ft. (3-3.6 m)
12-15 ft. (3.6-4.7 m)
15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)
20-30 ft. (6-9 m)

15-18 in. (38-45 cm)
18-24 in. (45-60 cm)
24-36 in. (60-90 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
Partial to Full Shade

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

Bloom Color:
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Unknown - Tell us

Grown for foliage

Other details:
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

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

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By Xenomorf
Thumbnail #1 of Acanthocereus tetragonus by Xenomorf

By Xenomorf
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By Xenomorf
Thumbnail #3 of Acanthocereus tetragonus by Xenomorf

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By Xenomorf
Thumbnail #6 of Acanthocereus tetragonus by Xenomorf

By Moofiepoo
Thumbnail #7 of Acanthocereus tetragonus by Moofiepoo

There are a total of 15 photos.
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1 positive
2 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Neutral frostweed On Aug 31, 2006, frostweed from Josephine, Arlington, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

Acanthocereus tetragonus is Native to Texas and other States.

Neutral Xenomorf On Feb 27, 2006, Xenomorf from Valley of the Sun, AZ (Zone 9b) wrote:

More synonyms of this plant are: Cereus tetragonus, Cactus prismaticus, Acanthocereus princeps, Acanthocereus pitajaya, Acanthocereus columbianus, Cereus acutangulus, Acanthocereus acutangulus, Acanthocereus brasiliensis & Cactus pitajaya.

Positive NativePlantFan9 On Jan 19, 2005, NativePlantFan9 from Boca Raton, FL (Zone 10a) wrote:

This highly spiny, subshrub to thicket-forming, sometimes rather large, shrubby cactus with stems up to 10 feet or possibly taller is native to the coastal hammocks and dry coastal habitats and thickets and sandy coastal habitats of central and southern Florida and the Keys, south into the Caribbean. The flowers are very amazing and showy and are white with a deep red and orange or red-orange center. The flowers bloom at night and are rarely seen by naturalists due to swarms of mosquitoes and very dark surroundings. The flowers are closed during the day. This cactus blooms a few times a year for around a few weeks. This cactus often forms thickets in coastal hammocks which can be impenetrable and spiny. It gets the common names Dildoe and Barbed-wire Cactus due to the very sharp, barb-wire spines (which, along with the stems, could also give it the other common name, Triangle Cactus). The ripe fruits are red to scarlet. The stems and fruits of this species in the Keys and far southern mainland of Florida are eaten by the endangered Key Largo Woodrat. The flowers are pollinated at night when they boom by insects. In Florida it is found in the central and southern coastal and mainland counties south through the Keys and into the Keys. Due to habitat destruction of the coastal hammocks and coastal habitats it is found in, this cactus is sadly listed as threatened by the state of Florida.

MORE FACTS - Also found in the Caribbean. Found in zones 9a through 11. The showy flowers, which are somewhat fragrant and close at night before dawn and remain closed throughout the day and open at night, have many white, raidiating petals. The part of the scientific name, tetragonus, means 'four-angled'. Other synonyms, besides the ones already shown, are Cactus pentagonus L., Cactus prismaticus Willd., Cereus acutangulus Otto, Cereus nitidus Salm-Dyck, Cereus prismaticus (Willd.)Haw., Cereus sirul F.A.C.Weber, and Cereus vasmerae M.J.Young. In Florida, this spp. is foumd occuring in or reported from St. Lucie, Martin, Palm Beach, Miami-Dade, Monroe, Collier and Lee counties and from the Keys (zones: 9b through 11, though may often survive to 9a).


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

Chandler Heights, Arizona
Phoenix, Arizona
Yuma, Arizona
Big Pine Key, Florida
Orlando, Florida
Chalmette, Louisiana
Picayune, Mississippi
Chester, New York

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