How to determine if plant is night-blooming cereus or other

Mc Call Creek, MS

I have two HUGE night blooming cereus in my little greenhouse along with several baskets
of a large flowering eppie. When a piece of one breaks off, I sometimes just stick it in whatever pot or basket is around. They are not flowering right now and I can't tell which is which. They have gotten so huge I must get rid of some of them and do not want to get rid of my eppie.

Is there a way to tell which is which by observing the leaves?

Reno, NV(Zone 6b)

What? Wait. Maybe some photos will help. When I think of night-blooming cereus, I visualize Cereus Peruvianus. But I suspect you could probably tell the difference between that and an Epiphyllum.

So... Photos to help us get all our heads going in the same direction would be great.


Mc Call Creek, MS

I'll try to get some pictures tomorrow and post them soon. Thanks Daisyl

Mc Call Creek, MS

Here are pictures of four different plants. Can you determine which ones are which kinds? (ie,
Night Blooming Cereus or Epiphylum?

I will post a couple more pictures below if possible.

Thanks for any light you can shed.

Thumbnail by TrixieM Thumbnail by TrixieM Thumbnail by TrixieM Thumbnail by TrixieM Thumbnail by TrixieM
Mc Call Creek, MS

Here is one more picture.

Thumbnail by TrixieM
Mc Call Creek, MS

I believe I have discovered the way to tell the difference myself by examining the plants I have.
I could find no stickers at all on the ones I was pretty sure were night blooming cereus. The epi-
phylums all have little hair-like stickers. I do recall being stuck by them when my epi has bloomed in recent years, so I'm sure that those are the epies.

What a mess! I had to separate the plants in 7 pots and baskets. I think the night blooming cereus is going to have to go. It is pretty when it blooms, but it just takes up too much space in my green-house.

Dallas, TX

A 'Night Blooming Cereus' IS an epiphyllum. So all of your plants are epis. And I don't see much difference in your plants. Maybe I could with better pictures. There are many epiphyllums (don't ask me to name them) that bloom at night. What you are calling 'stickers' are actually roots searching for a place to attach to and maybe get more nutrients.

Epiphyllums, aka epis, are mostly found in the rain and cloud forests of Central and South America. They have evolved into epiphytic plants, which are plants that live on the surface of other plants. They aren't parasites b/c they take their nourishment from the environment and not from the host plant. Epis use their roots to anchor in place, usually somewhere that has organic debris. That's why you're seeing the roots reaching out.

Obviously those of us who grow epis are not growing them in trees or host plants. Just giving you some background.

To make things really confusing, many people, myself included, are bad about using names. For ex, you'll often hear 'Night Blooming Cereus'. It could be an E. oxypetalum. Or it could be E. strictum that is the 'Night Blooming Cereus'. Those are just 2 types. I could keep going (yawn). Confused? I am.

What I find more interesting to dwell on is that epis are a true cactus.

Sorry. I'm not trying to give a lecture altho it might sound that way. I'm really just learning.

Before you pitch one of your plants, you might see if anyone would like it or at least a cutting. Then use a permanent marker and write on a cutting 'NOID'.

This message was edited Sep 25, 2015 11:22 PM

Mc Call Creek, MS

Thanks for your information, Flower Child.

The only place I can really differ with you is that there are definite tiny, extremely fine stickers on some of mine, which are completely absent from the other, thicker plants. (I do recognize the air
roots that they have.)

I, too, have been growing this type of cacti, since around the early 1990s. Having moved
since then, I have given away a boatload of them because the new digs had no place to keep

I don't have a really good camera that will make clear pictures, but I'm satisfied pretty much with what I THINK I have. I'm keeping one of the night blooming cereus', but I gave it a good haircut
so something else will fit in my greenhouse.

Your interest and response is appreciated.


Cannelton, IN(Zone 6b)

I have two Eppi's. E. Hookerii which blooms at nite. The bloom is usually gone by mid morning. And E. Ackermanii which lasts for a couple days.

Thumbnail by smashedcactus Thumbnail by smashedcactus
Cannelton, IN(Zone 6b)

I have two Eppi's. E. Hookerii which blooms at nite. The bloom is usually gone by mid morning. And E. Ackermanii which lasts for a couple days.

Thumbnail by smashedcactus Thumbnail by smashedcactus
Dallas, TX

Trixie - I apologize for my comment about 'better pictures'. I didn't know that you just didn't have a good camera. Believe me, I can sympathize. I think I'm the only person in Dallas, TX that doesn't have a smartphone. My old flip phone is great except for being horrible with pictures!

Guess I'm confused by what you're calling 'stickers'. Do you mean like a small spine on what most of us think of when we think of cactus? And that we try to avoid touching? And are they teeny tiny? I'm just asking out of curiosity. I had thought you were talking about air roots.

Smashedcactus - Nice blooms. Thanks for the pics. And I love your name. :D

Mc Call Creek, MS

Flower Child, no apology needed! I did not give it a thought.

The "stickers" are on the sides of the stems. They are either white or clear and extremely fine. They are like the ones on other cacti in as much as they will stick into your skin and they are hard to remove from your skin because they are so hard to see. They are much tinier than air roots.

I don't have a smartphone either, and would not have one. I think that they are making the world an anti-social place because everywhere you go, everybody you see is either talking on the phone, or intently playing a game on a smartphone. People in the grocery store are rudely walking with a grocery cart and talking on the phone......and getting in the way of folks who are trying to buy groceries. And worse still, are the ones who are driving and paying more attention to their phone than their driving. Dangerous!

Just a simple flip phone works for me. (To anybody reading this who has a smartphone, please
don't get upset with me. I know you love them!) LOL My kids and nephews and all their friends have them and think they are great.

Dallas, TX

Do you use Facebook? There are some great forums on it that are only about epis. People are very helpful with their knowledge. And they do show off their beautiful blooms. Really incredible.

Somewhere here on DG there is a forum for epis. I've only glanced at it a few times b/c I use Facebook more & more.

It's ironic that I use Facebook. I have a niece in NY who used to email pictures of her little one. Suddenly she stopped. So I asked my sister-in-law (we're close) why her daughter stopped sending pictures. Was told that she posts the pictures on Facebook. So I rather reluctantly got on Facebook so I could see the pictures of my great-niece. Then those disappeared. Now there on Instagram. Grrr. But in the meantime I got hooked into some gardening groups and even a few other groups. Life moves on, eh?

Back to the stickers (ouch), that would be a factor in id'ing the type of epiphyllum. But I read in an outdated book that there are over 7,000 types of epis, including every color except blue. So now you know what I know.

Dallas, TX

Trixie - In case you ever look at this thread again, I have more info.
Picture 1 and 3, impossible for me to tell.
Picture 2 looks like an E. Oxypetallum.
Pictures 4 and 5 appear to be E. Hookerii. (name change from E. Strictum.)

I'm basing this on the width of the branches. Unless I have it backwards, the oxyp. has broader leaves. No picture b/c I grew them in Austin and live in Dallas now.

Here's a few pictures of my E. Hooker Hookerii. (2nd picture is backwards, don't ask me why.) Turns out that I do have a picture (#4) that is a youngish E. Oxy.

Picture #3 shows some cuttings from my E. Hookerii. Can you see the difference in the branches? As most people will tell you, an ID is best made by looking at the blooms.

I did notice that the Hookerii did not have much, if any, of a scent, whereas the Oxys that I used to grow were incredibly fragrant.

Re-reading your original post, a mere year after you wrote it, got me to thinking about the 'stickers'. I can say without a doubt that some epiphyllums have stickers. My E. Gloriousum (day bloomer) has very fine, almost soft, stickers whereas my E. Red NOID (also a day bloomer) has sharp stickers. So I dunno.

Anyway, hope you catch this update. It's been awhile.

This message was edited Nov 19, 2016 6:52 AM

Thumbnail by tx_flower_child Thumbnail by tx_flower_child Thumbnail by tx_flower_child Thumbnail by tx_flower_child

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