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Accepted Scientific Name: Epiphyllum crenatum (Lindl.) Don
Encycl. Pl. (new ed.). 1378. 1855 [Jul 1855] Loudon, J.W.Loudon & Don ; cf. D.J. Mabberley in Taxon, 30(1): 16. 1981
Origin and Habitat: El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Belize, Panamá, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Mexico in the states of Chiapas, Oaxaca, and Veracruz.
Altitude: 1,330 to 2,500 metres above sea level.
Habitat and Ecology: This species is found in tropical moist forests, cloud forest, and oak (Quercus) forest. The species can be epiphytic (grows upon another plant) or epilithic (grows on rocks). This species is threatened by local deforestation for small-holder agriculture and cattle-ranching.
- Epiphyllum crenatum (Lindl.) Don
Epiphyllum crenatum (Lindl.) Don
Encycl. Pl. (new ed.). 1378. 1855 [Jul 1855]
- Epiphyllum crenatum (Lindl.) Don
- Epiphyllum cooperi (Regel) Clover
- х Epinicereus cooperi (Regel) P.V.Heath
- Epiphyllum crenatum cv. cooperi
- Phyllocactus х cooperi hort. ex Regel
- Epiphyllum crenatum var. kimnachii Bravo ex Kimnach
- Cactus ensiformis Biden
- Epiphyllum caulorrhizum (Lindl.) Don in Loudon
- Epiphyllum chichicastenango hort.
- Epiphyllum kinchinjunga hort.
- Marniera macroptera var. kimnachii (Bravo) Backeb.
- Phyllocactus belgica Laet-Cont.
- Phyllocactus caulorrhizus Lem.
- Phyllocactus hildmannii Hildm.
- Phyllocactus pfersdorffii Rümpler
- Phyllocactus tettaui Rother
- Phyllocactus triumphans Hort.Angl. ex Haage
- Phyllocactus wrayi hort.
ENGLISH: Orchid cactus, Climbing Orchid Cactus, Queen of the night, Large White Cactus, Crenate Orchid Cactus, Leaf cactus
CHINESE (中文): 曇花屬
FRENCH (Français): Cactus à feuilles, Cactus orchidée
HUNGARIAN (Magyar): Levélkaktusz
JAPANESE (日本語): クジャクサボテン属
LITHUANIAN (Lietuvių): Rinčiuotasis lapenis
PERSIAN (فارسی): کاکتوس ارکیده دندانهدار
POLISH ( Polski): Epifyllum
RUSSIAN (Русский): Эпифиллум
SWEDISH (Svenska): Bladkaktussläktet, Naggad bladkaktus
VIETNAMESE (Tiếng Việt): Chi Quỳnh
Description: Epiphyllum crenatum (Lindl.) G. Don ( Crenate Orchid cactus) is a very a very popular and well-known species with robust stems, leaf-like in appearance and with margins notched or scalloped. The outsize white, very fragrant flowers opening at night are exceptional in its genus for the longer duration of blooming the following days. It is free flowering and beautiful.
Two subspecies are recognized, the nominate form and subsp. kimnachii (Bravo ex Kimnach) U. Guzmán.
Habit: It is a vigorous branching, bushy, semiepiphytic perennial cactus. At first upright, then pendent, about 90 cm across.
Areoles: Confined to margins, spineless. Areoles at the bases of stems sometimes bearing hairs or small bristles.
Stems: Primary stems cylindrical or three-angled, becoming woody. Secondary stems unsegmented, unarmed, leaflike, rather succulent, erect to ascending, 2- (or 3-) winged, flattened for most of their length, lanceolate to long linear, terete, tapering at both ends, showing a very thick midrib, and becoming woody at base, acute or obtuse at apex, to 50(-60) cm long and 6–10 cm wide (3.5cm overall), green or grey- green somewhat glaucous, smooth, rather thick, margins with fairly deep oblique crenation (wavy-toothed).
Flowers: On the tips of the stems, strongly fragrant (18--29 cm long, 10-20 cm in diameter. Pericarpel (hypanthium) 5-angled, 3 cm long, 1,5-1,7 cm thick, with acute, long-decurrent podaria, bracteoles (small bracts) subtening 0-2 (-8) spines to 7 mm long, green. Receptacle 10–12 cm long, ca 1,5 cm thick at middle, green often reddish at apex or reddish throughout, bearing numerous linear to oblong, obtuse, more or less keeled bracleoles 2–3 cm long, somewhat spreading. Outer tepals inserted within 2 cm of receptacle apex, (7-)10–12 cm long, broadly oblanceolate-linear, greenish yellow to tawny yellow or reddish amber, the outermost sometimes margined red or streaked; inner tepals as long as outer, spathulate to oblanceolate, acuminate to mucronate, white, creamy white or greenish yellow. Nectaries ca 3–4 cm long. Stamens numerous, declinate, shorter than tepals, inserted in two zones the lower one ca 4 cm long, from a point ca 4 cm from the ovary chamber, the upper zone forming a throat circle ca 2 cm above, filaments 5–7 cm long, pale yellow or pale greenish yellow; style 15–20 cm long, as long or longer than stamens, 2–3 mm thick, widest at base. Stigma lobes white, 8-9, papillose.
Blooming season: Flowers in late spring or early summer, remaining open for several days.
Fruits: Oblong to globose, the podaria long decurrent, acute.
Subspecies, varieties, forms and cultivars of plants belonging to the Epiphyllum crenatum group
Notes: Epiphyllum crenatum, the Orchid Cactus, has been used extensively in cross-pollinating with species of other genera to develop many beautiful Epiphyllum cultivars ranging in colour from light yellowish-white and rose shade to orange and deep amber. It one of the most important parents in creating the intergeneric and interspecific Epiphyllum-hybrids commonly cultivated throughout the world. By the other hand most of the colored hybrids have mainly Disocactus genes and perhaps better referred to as Disocactus-hybrids rather than Epiphyllum hybrids.
Bibliography: Major references and further lectures
1) "Edwards's Botanical Register" 30: pl. 31 1844
2) James Cullen, Sabina G. Knees, H. Suzanne Cubey “The European Garden Flora Flowering Plants: A Manual for the Identification of Plants Cultivated in Europe, Both Out-of-Doors and Under Glass” Cambridge University Press, 11/ago/2011
3) David Hunt, Nigel Taylor “The New Cactus Lexicon” DH Books, 2006
4) Edward F. Anderson “The Cactus Family” Timber Press, 2001
5) Clive Innes “Complete Handbook of Cacti and Succulents” Van Nostrand Reinhold Company, 01/dic/1981
6) Sir Oliver Leese “Cacti” Ward Lock, 1973
7) Ernest Edward Lord “Shrubs and Trees for Australian Gardens” Lothian Publishing Company, 1948
8) Louise Beebe Wilder “The fragrant path” Collier Books, Macmillan Pub. Co., 01/gen/1990
9) Myron Kimnach "Convention Speakers, Cactus Lectures" Cactus and Succulent Society of America, 2007
10) "Encyclopaedia of Plants: comprising the specific character, description, culture, history, application in the arts, and every other desirable particular respecting all the plants indigenous to, cultivated in, or introduced into Britain." London 1855
11) Balick, M. J., M. Nee & D. E. Atha. "Checklist of the vascular plants of Belize" Mem. New York Bot. Gard. 85: i–ix, 1–246. 2000.
12) Correa A., M. D., C. Galdames & M. N. S. Stapf. Cat. Pl. Vasc. Panamá 1–599. Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Panama.2004.
13) Ibarra Manríquez, G. & S. S. Colin. "Lista florística comentada de la Estación de Biología Tropical "Los Tuxtlas", Veracruz, Mexico." Revista Biol. Trop. 43(1–3): 75–115. 1995
14) Molina Rosito, A. "Enumeración de las plantas de Honduras." Ceiba 19(1): 1–118. 1975
15) Rivas, M. E. "Lista actualizada de cactos (Cactaceae) de Costa Rica." Brenesia 43–44: 31–37.1995
16) Standley, P. C. & L. O. Williams. Cactaceae. In Standley, P. C. & L. O. Williams (eds.), "Flora of Guatemala" - Part VII. Fieldiana, Bot. 24(7/2): 187–234.1962
17) Véliz Pérez, M. E. "Cactáceas Guatemala" 1–129. Univ. de San Carlos de Guatemala, Guatemala.2008
18) Curt Backeberg "Die Cactaceae: Handbuch der Kakteenkunde." volume II, Gustav Fischer Verlag, Stuttgart New York 1983
19) Nathaniel Lord Britton, Joseph Nelson Rose: “The genus Epiphyllum and its allies.” In: Contributions from the United States National Herbarium. 16: 255–262, tab 78–84, 1913
20) Nyffeler R. “Phylogenetic relationships in the cactus family (Cactaceae) based on evidence from trnK/matK and trnL-trnF sequences.” American Journal of Botany 89. p. 312 2002
21) Hernández, H.M., Tapia, J.L., Ishiki, M. & Véliz, M. 2013. Epiphyllum crenatum. In: IUCN 2013. “IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.” Version 2013.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 29 May 2014.
Cultivation and Propagation: Epiphyllum crenatum is easy to grow and tolerates neglect. This plant (as with all Epiphyllum) prefers partial shade, and requires ample summer water (more than other cacti), but allow soil to dry slightly between waterings.
Growth rate: These forest cacti are fast growing and tend to be long lived.
Exposure: It grows best in dry, tropical or subtropical climates, it need full sun to partial shade. Shade is sometimes provided in hot climates. Extra light in the early spring will stimulate budding.
Soil: Epiphyllums aren't usually too picky as to soil type, but because of their epiphytic nature, it is recommended to grow them in well-drained soil mix largely composed of organic material, such as peat or sphagnum moss. This type of soil would normally be used for orchids, bromeliads or other epiphytic plants.
Waterings: During the growing season (March-August), the plants are watered on a regular basis, making sure that they never dry out completely. They are fertilized on a monthly basis with a balanced fertilizer during this period. In late August, water is restricted to about once a week until January. Night temperatures at this time should be about 10° C. In January or February, watering is stopped for a period of 4 weeks to aid in flower formation. In March, regular watering is resumed and the plant will flower in 6 to 8 weeks.
Remarks: These plants drop their buds easily if they are moved. Once flower buds have formed, DO NOT MOVE the plant, as slight changes in environment may cause the buds to drop.
Hardiness: Prefers nighttime temperatures no cooler than 12° C, especially in the winter. Will tolerate temperatures to 45° C, and short periods of frost, but prolonged cold will damage or kill the plant.
Pests and diseases: Usually remains remarkably free from disease.
Propagation: Epiphyllum crenatum is propagated by stem cutting or (rarely) by seed in the spring. Seed should be sown in well-drained compost and should germinate in 14 to 28 days at 18 to 21° C.
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