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Classification System: APG IV

Superregnum: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Cladus: Angiosperms
Cladus: Eudicots
Cladus: Core eudicots
Ordo: Caryophyllales

Familia: Cactaceae
Subfamilia: Cactoideae
Tribus: Hylocereeae
Genus: Selenicereus
Sectiones: S. sect. Cryptocereus – S. sect. Selenicereus
Species (CACO): S. alliodorus – S. anthonyanus – S. atropilosus – S. calcaratus – S. costaricensis – S. dorschianus – S. escuintlensis – S. extensus – S. glaber – S. grandiflorus – S. guatemalensis – S. hamatus – S. inermis – S. megalanthus – S. minutiflorus – S. monacanthus – S. murrillii – S. nelsonii – S. ocamponis – S. pteranthus – S. purpusii – S. setaceus – S. spinulosus – S. stenopterus – S. tonduzii – S. triangularis – S. tricae – S. trigonus – S. undatus – S. vagans – S. validus
Nothospecies: S. × callianthus
Source(s) of checklist:

Korotkova, N. et al. 2021. Selenicereus in Cactaceae at Caryophyllales.org. A global synthesis of species diversity in the angiosperm order Caryophyllales. Published on the internet. Accessed: 2021 Nov. 25. Reference page.

Name

Selenicereus (A.Berger) Britton & Rose, Contr. U.S. Natl. Herb. 12: 429 (1909) emend. Korotkova et al. (2017)

Type species: Selenicereus grandiflorus (L.) Britton & Rose

Synonyms

Basionym
Cereus subsect. Selenicereus A.Berger, Rep. (Annual) Missouri Bot. Gard. 16: 76 (1905).

Homotypic
Cereus subg. Selenicereus (A.Berger) A.Berger, Kakteen: 6: 110 (1929).
Cereus subg. Hylocereus A.Berger in Rep. (Annual) Missouri Bot. Gard. 16: 72. 1905 syn. sec. Korotkova & al. 2017
Hylocereus (A.Berger) Britton & Rose in Contr. U.S. Natl. Herb. 12: 428. 1909 syn. sec. Korotkova & al. 2017
Type: Hylocereus triangularis (L.) Britton & Rose

Note: Now includes the horticulturally popular Hylocereus a range of attractive night flowering cacti and the Dragon Fruits.

Heterotypic
Cereus [infragen.unranked] Divaricati Salm-Dyck, Cact. Hort. Dyck. 1841: 32 (1841).
Type species: non design.
Cereus [infragen.unranked] Principales K.Schum., Gesamtb. Kakt. (1): 55 (Feb) (1897).
Type species: non design.
Cereus [infragen.unranked] Radicantes Salm-Dyck, Cact. Hort. Dyck. 1841: 31 (1841).
Cereus sect. Radicantes (Salm-Dyck) Walp., Rep. Bot. Syst. 2: 278 (1843), p.p.
Type species: non design.
Cereus [infragen.unranked] Rostrati K.Schum. in Engl. & Prantl, Nat. Pflanzenfam. 3(6a): 179 (1894).
Type species: Cereus rostratus Lem.
Cereus [infragen.unranked] Serpentes Pfeiff. ex Lem., Cact. Gen. Sp. Nov. 59, 77 (1839), p.p.
Type species: non design.
Cereus [infragen.gruppe] Testudines Vaupel in Engl. & Prantl, Nat. Pflanzenfam. 21: 640, 642 (1925)
Werckleocereus Britton & Rose in Contr. U.S. Natl. Herb. 12: 432. 1909 syn. sec. Korotkova & al. 2017
Type: Werckleocereus tonduzii (F.A.C.Weber) Britton & Rose
Mediocactus Britton & Rose pro parte, excl. the type,, Cactaceae 2: 210. 1920 syn. sec. Korotkova & al. 2017
Wilmattea Britton & Rose, Cactaceae 2: 195. 1920 syn. sec. Korotkova & al. 2017
Type: Wilmattea minutiflora (Britton & Rose) Britton & Rose
Cryptocereus Alexander, Cact. Succ. J. Los Angeles 22: 164 (1950).
Type: Cryptocereus anthonyanus Alexander

Distribution
Native distribution areas:

Continental: Southern America
Regional: Western South America
Regional: Central America
Continental: Northern America
Regional: Mexico

References: Brummitt, R.K. 2001. TDWG – World Geographical Scheme for Recording Plant Distributions, 2nd Edition
References
Primary references

Britton, N.L. & Rose, J.N. 1909. Contr. U.S. Natl. Herb. 12: 429.

Additional references

Korotkova, N., Borsch, T.H. & Arias, S., 2017. A phylogenetic framework for the Hylocereeae (Cactaceae) and implications for the circumscription of the genera. Phytotaxa 327(1): 1-46. DOI: 10.11646/phytotaxa.327.1.1 Paywall ResearchGate Reference page.
Korotkova, N., Aquino, D., Arias, S., Eggli, U., Franck, A., Gómez-Hinostrosa, C., Guerrero, P.C., Hernández, H.M., Kohlbecker, A., Köhler, M., Luther, K., Majure, L.C., Müller, A., Metzing, D., Nyffeler, R., Sánchez, D., Schlumpberger, B. & Berendsohn, W.G. 2021. Cactaceae at Caryophyllales. org–a dynamic online species-level taxonomic backbone for the family. Willdenowia 51(2): 251–270. DOI: 10.3372/wi.51.51208 Open access Reference page.

Links

Korotkova, N. et al. 2021. Selenicereus in Cactaceae at Caryophyllales.org. A global synthesis of species diversity in the angiosperm order Caryophyllales. Published on the internet. Accessed: 2021 Dec 23. Reference page.
Govaerts, R. et al. 2021. Selenicereus in Kew Science Plants of the World online. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the internet. Accessed: 2021 Dec 23. Reference page.
International Plant Names Index. 2021. Selenicereus. Published online. Accessed: Dec 23 2021.
Tropicos.org 2021. Selenicereus. Missouri Botanical Garden. Published on the internet. Accessed: 2021 Dec 23.
Hassler, M. 2021. Selenicereus. World Plants: Synonymic Checklists of the Vascular Plants of the World In: Roskovh, Y., Abucay, L., Orrell, T., Nicolson, D., Bailly, N., Kirk, P., Bourgoin, T., DeWalt, R.E., Decock, W., De Wever, A., Nieukerken, E. van, Zarucchi, J. & Penev, L., eds. 2021. Species 2000 & ITIS Catalogue of Life. Published on the internet. Accessed: 2021 Dec 23. Reference page.
Selenicereus – Taxon details on Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS).

Vernacular names
English: Moonlight Cacti, Dragon Fruit
suomi: Yökaktukset
français: Cierge de Sélène
русский: Царица ночи (Принцесса ночи)
svenska: Nattkaktussläktet

Selenicereus, sometimes known as moonlight cactus, is a genus of epiphytic, lithophytic, and terrestrial cacti, found in Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean and northern South America. The term night-blooming cereus is also sometimes used, but this is also used for many night-blooming cacti, including Epiphyllum and Peniocereus. In 2017, the genus Hylocereus was brought into synonymy with Selenicereus. A number of species of Selenicereus produce fruit that is eaten. The fruit, known as pitaya or pitahaya in Spanish or as dragon fruit, may be collected from the wild or the plants may be cultivated.

Description

Clambering plants with flat to angled stems, producing aerial roots. Areoles may be with or without spines. Flowers are large and nocturnal, pollinated by moths or rarely bats. The receptacle bears small bracts, hairs and usually spines. Fruits bear numerous spines. Flowers are generally produced in abundance with mature plants and are typically white and are very fragrant and only last a single night in most species.
Taxonomy

The taxon was first described as a section, Cereus sect. Selinicereus, by Alwin Berger in 1905. It was raised to a genus by Britton and Rose in 1909. The name is derived from Σελήνη (Selene), the Greek moon goddess, referring to the nocturnal flowers, and cereus, meaning "candle" in Latin, a name used for upright cacti.[3] A molecular phylogenetic study of the tribe Hylocereeae in 2017 showed that the genus Hylocereus was nested within Selenicereus, so all the species of Hylocereus were transferred to Selenicereus.[4] As of March 2021, the transfer was accepted by Plants of the World Online.[2] The authors of the 2017 study also placed some species of Weberocereus within Selenicereus,[4] which was not accepted by Plants of the World Online as of March 2021.[2]
Phylogeny

The cladogram below shows the relationships found in the 2017 study of the tribe Hylocereeae.[4]

Hylocereeae

Acanthocereus

Aporocactus

hylocereoid clade

Selenicereus (including Hylocereus and 3 former Weberocereus species)

Weberocereus (remaining species)

phyllocactoid clade

Pseudorhipsalis

Kimnachia

Epiphyllum

Disocactus

Selenicereus belongs to the hylocereoid clade, along with Weberocereus. Members of the clade are mostly climbing or epiphytic, and have spiny ribbed stems, contrasting with members of the phyllocactoid clade, which are mainly epiphytic, and have spineless flattened leaf-like stems.[4]
Species

Species placed in the genus by Korotkova et al. in 2017 are listed below.[4] The list includes three species formerly placed in Weberocereus, whose transfer was not accepted by Plants of the World Online as of March 2021.[2]

Species Description Distribution Flower Fruit
Selenicereus anthonyanus
(Alexander) D.R.Hunt
Stems like those of Epiphyllum anguliger but more vining and with short spines. Flowers ca. 12 cm long, 10–15 cm wide, the outer inner tepals purplish, the inner cream. Mexico.[5] Selenicereus anthonyanus.jpg
Selenicereus alliodorus
(Gómez-Hin. & H.M.Hern.) S. Arias & Korotkova
(syn. Weberocereus alliodorus)
Southwest Mexico[6]
Selenicereus atropilosus
Kimnach
Flowers 12 cm long, receptacle with black hairs. The species is close to some species in the genus Weberocereus. Mexico.[7]
Selenicereus calcaratus
(F.A.C.Weber) D.R.Hunt
Costa Rica[8]
Selenicereus costaricensis
(F.A.C.Weber) S. Arias & Korotkova
Stems waxy-white without horny margins. Flowers ca. 30 cm long with large bracts, usually with purple margins. Fruit red with purple pulp. Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Panama. Hylocereus costaricensis.jpg Hylocereus polyrhizus.jpg
Selenicereus dorschianus
Ralf Bauer
Mexico[9]
Selenicereus escuintlensis
(Kimnach) D.R.Hunt
Stems green not glaucous, brown-margined. Flowers 28–31 cm long, 24–36 cm wide. Guatemala, Mexico and Nicaragua[10]
Selenicereus extensus
(Salm-Dyck ex DC.) Leuenb.
French Guiana, Guyana and Suriname[11]
Selenicereus glaber
(Eichlam) S. Arias & Korotkova
(syn. Weberocereus glaber)
El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras[12] CactusFruitUNAM.JPG
Selenicereus grandiflorus
(L.) Britton & Rose
Stems many-ribbed. Flowers 18 cm long, receptacle densely woolly. Three subspecies are recognized:
  • ssp. grandiflorus
  • ssp. donkelaarii - Mexico. Stems 1 cm thick, low-ribbed, spines short, appressed to stem. Flowers 18 cm long.
  • ssp. hondurensis- Honduras? Stem ribs tubercled. Flowers 30–34 cm long.
The Bahamas, the Cayman Islands, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Haiti, Jamaica, Mexico and Nicaragua.[13] Selenicereus coniflorus (9198233445).jpg
Selenicereus guatemalensis
(Eichlam ex Weing.) D.R.Hunt
Guatemala[14]
Selenicereus hamatus
(Scheidw.) Britton & Rose
Stems 3-4-ribbed, with knobby projections, nearly spineless. Flowers 20–25 cm long, receptacle with black hairs. Mexico.[15] SelenicereusHamatus1MC.JPG
Selenicereus inermis
(Otto) Britton & Rose
Stems 2-5-ribbed, almost spineless. Flower 15 cm long, spiny, hairless. Colombia, Costa Rica Mexico, Panama and Venezuela.[16] Selenicereus wercklei8BHAM.jpg
Selenicereus megalanthus
(K.Schum. ex Vaupel) Moran
Stems green, slender without horny margins. Flowers 30–38 cm long with large flattened tubercles and small bracts. Fruit yellow. Colombia, Ecuador and Peru[17] Hylocereus megalanthus1EDWARD.jpg Yellow dragon fruit (50831s).jpg
Selenicereus minutiflorus
(Britton & Rose) D.R.Hunt
Stems green. Flowers with rigid spines at base of flower, 5 cm long, 8–9 cm wide, white. Belize, Guatemala and Honduras[18]
Selenicereus monacanthus
(Lem.) D.R.Hunt(syn. incl. H. lemairei, H. monacanthus)
Stems gray-green without horny margins. Flowers ca 30 cm long, petals white, tinged pinkish near base or entirely pink. Tube with distant bracts. Stigma lobes usually forked. Fruit red with purple pulp. Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Trinidad and Tobago, Venezuela and the Venezuelan Antilles[19] Hylocereus monacanthus1ANKA.jpg Hylocereus monacanthus - fruit.jpg
Selenicereus murrillii
Britton & Rose
Stems only 8 mm thick, nearly spineless. Flowers 15 cm long, spiny, hairless. Closely related to S. spinulous and S. inermis (sensu lat.). Mexico.[20]
Selenicereus nelsonii
(Weing.) Britton & Rose
Flowers 20 cm long, receptacle hairless, spiny. Possibly conspecific with S. vagans. Mexico.[21] Selenicereus nelsonii.jpg
Selenicereus ocamponis
(Salm-Dyck) D.R.Hunt(syn. incl. H. guatemalense, H. purpursii, H. ocamponis)
Stems white-waxy, margins horny, spines needle-like, to 12 mm long. Flowers 25–32 cm long with white inner petals. Bracts overlapping, with purple margins. Mexico[22]
Selenicereus pteranthus
(Link ex A.Dietr.) Britton & Rose
Two forms are recognized:
  • f. macdonaldiae - Honduras? Stem ribs tubercled. Flowers 30–34 cm long.
  • f. pteranthus - Mexico. Stems thick, 4-5-ribbed, spines very short. Flowers 25–30 cm long.
The Bahamas, Belize, the Cayman Islands, Cuba, the Dominican Republic and Mexico.[23] Koenigin der Nacht NS 02.jpg
Selenicereus purpusii
(Weing.) Arias & Korotkova
Mexico[24]
Selenicereus setaceus
(Salm-Dyck ex DC.) A.Berger ex Werderm.
Stems green without horny margins, rather spiny. Flowers 19–22 cm with small tubercles and bracts. Fruit red. Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil and Paraguay[25] Selenicereus setaceus (Saml-Dyck ex DC.) Werdermann.JPG
Selenicereus spinulosus
(DC.) Britton & Rose
Texas, Mexico.[26] Stems short-spined. Flowers 8–14 cm long, receptacle spiny, hairless.
Selenicereus stenopterus
(F.A.C.Weber) D.R.Hunt
Stems thin, soft, green. Flowers 9–10 cm long, 13–15 cm wide, tube short, tepals purplish red. Costa Rica[27]
Selenicereus tonduzii
(F.A.C.Weber) S. Arias & Korotkova
(syn. Weberocereus tonduzii)
Costa Rica and Panama[28]
Selenicereus triangularis
(L.) D.R.Hunt
Stems green without horny margins, slender. Flowers ca. 20 cm long, base with wide overlapping scales Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, the Leeward Islands, Puerto Rico and the Windward Islands[29] Hylocereus triangularis Rich Hoyer.JPG
Selenicereus tricae
D.R.Hunt
Belize, Guatemala and Mexico[30]
Selenicereus trigonus
(Haw.) S. Arias & Korotkova
Stems green without horny margins. Flowers ca. 22 cm long, 21 cm wide, base with small, narrow, widely spaced scales, sometimes spiny. Fruit red. May be a synonym of Selenicereus triangularis the Caribbean.[29]
Selenicereus undatus
(Haw.) D.R.Hunt
Stems green, margins undulate and horny. Flowers 25–30 cm long, white with green outer tepals and bracts. Fruit red with white pulp. El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico[31] Hylocereus undatus00.jpg Pitaya cross section ed2.jpg
Selenicereus vagans
(K.Brandegee) Britton & Rose
Flower 15 cm long, receptacle spiny, hairless. Mexico.[32] Selenicereus vagans.jpg
Selenicereus validus
S.Arias & U.Guzmán
Huge nocturnal flowers with bright red fruits. Mexico (Michoacán).[33] Selenicereus validus Flower2.jpg

Species formerly recognized include:

Selenicereus boeckmannii – synonym of Selenicereus pteranthus[23]
Selenicereus brevispinus – synonym of Selenicereus pteranthus[23]
Selenicereus chontalensis – synonym of Deamia chontalensis[4]
Selenicereus coniflorus – synonym of Selenicereus grandiflorus[13]
Selenicereus hallensis – synonym of Selenicereus grandiflorus[13]
Selenicereus urbanianus – synonym of Selenicereus grandiflorus[13]
Selenicereus rubineus – synonym of Selenicereus inermis[16]
Selenicereus wercklei – synonym of Selenicereus inermis[16]
Selenicereus wittii – synonym of Strophocactus wittii[4]

Uses
Pitayas of various colours

The fruits of a number of species of Selenicereus (particularly those formerly placed in Hylocereus) are eaten. Selenicereus undatus and Selenicereus triangularis are widely cultivated in the Americas, Europe and Asia for their fruits, known as pitayas or pitahayas in Spanish, and as dragon fruits in Asia. The fruit of Selenicereus setaceus is eaten in South America.[34]
References
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Selenicereus.
Wikispecies has information related to Selenicereus.

"Genus: Selenicereus (A. Berger) Britton & Rose". Germplasm Resources Information Network. United States Department of Agriculture. 13 February 2004. Archived from the original on 2012-10-11. Retrieved 2021-03-10.
"Selenicereus Britton & Rose". Plants of the World Online. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Retrieved 2021-03-03.
Anderson, Edward F. (2001). "Selenicereus". The Cactus Family. Pentland, Oregon: Timber Press. pp. 142, 631. ISBN 978-0-88192-498-5.
Korotkova, Nadja; Borsch, Thomas & Arias, Salvador (2017). "A phylogenetic framework for the Hylocereeae (Cactaceae) and implications for the circumscription of the genera". Phytotaxa. 327 (1): 1–46. doi:10.11646/phytotaxa.327.1.1.
"Selenicereus anthonyanus (Alexander) D.R.Hunt". Plants of the World Online. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Retrieved 2021-03-03.
"Weberocereus alliodorus Gómez-Hin. & H.M.Hern". Plants of the World Online. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Retrieved 2021-03-07.
"Selenicereus atropilosus Kimnach". Plants of the World Online. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Retrieved 2021-03-03.
"Selenicereus calcaratus (F.A.C.Weber) D.R.Hunt". Plants of the World Online. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Retrieved 2021-03-03.
"Selenicereus dorschianus Ralf Bauer". Plants of the World Online. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Retrieved 2021-03-03.
"Selenicereus escuintlensis (Kimnach) D.R.Hunt". Plants of the World Online. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Retrieved 2021-03-03.
"Selenicereus extensus (Salm-Dyck ex DC.) Leuenb". Plants of the World Online. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Retrieved 2021-03-03.
"Weberocereus glaber (Eichlam) G.D.Rowley". Plants of the World Online. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Retrieved 2021-03-07.
"Selenicereus grandiflorus (L.) Britton & Rose". Plants of the World Online. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Retrieved 2021-03-03.
"Selenicereus guatemalensis (Eichlam ex Weing.) D.R.Hunt". Plants of the World Online. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Retrieved 2021-03-03.
"Selenicereus hamatus (Scheidw.) Britton & Rose". Plants of the World Online. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Retrieved 2021-03-03.
"Selenicereus inermis (Otto) Britton & Rose". Plants of the World Online. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Retrieved 2021-03-03.
"Selenicereus megalanthus (K.Schum. ex Vaupel) Moran". Plants of the World Online. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Retrieved 2021-03-03.
"Selenicereus minutiflorus (Britton & Rose) D.R.Hunt". Plants of the World Online. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Retrieved 2021-03-03.
"Selenicereus monacanthus (Lem.) D.R.Hunt". Plants of the World Online. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Retrieved 2021-03-03.
"Selenicereus murrillii Britton & Rose". Plants of the World Online. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Retrieved 2021-03-03.
"Selenicereus nelsonii (Weing.) Britton & Rose". Plants of the World Online. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Retrieved 2021-03-03.
"Selenicereus ocamponis (Salm-Dyck) D.R.Hunt". Plants of the World Online. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Retrieved 2021-03-03.
"Selenicereus pteranthus (Link ex A.Dietr.) Britton & Rose". Plants of the World Online. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Retrieved 2021-03-03.
"Selenicereus purpusii (Weing.) Arias & Korotkova". Plants of the World Online. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Retrieved 2021-03-03.
"Selenicereus setaceus (Salm-Dyck ex DC.) A.Berger ex Werderm". Plants of the World Online. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Retrieved 2021-03-03.
"Selenicereus spinulosus (DC.) Britton & Rose". Plants of the World Online. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Retrieved 2021-03-03.
"Selenicereus stenopterus (F.A.C.Weber) D.R.Hunt". Plants of the World Online. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Retrieved 2021-03-03.
"Weberocereus tonduzii (F.A.C.Weber) G.D.Rowley". Plants of the World Online. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Retrieved 2021-03-07.
"Selenicereus triangularis (L.) D.R.Hunt". Plants of the World Online. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Retrieved 2021-03-03.
"Selenicereus tricae D.R.Hunt". Plants of the World Online. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Retrieved 2021-03-03.
"Selenicereus undatus (Haw.) D.R.Hunt". Plants of the World Online. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Retrieved 2021-03-03.
"Selenicereus vagans (K.Brandegee) Britton & Rose". Plants of the World Online. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Retrieved 2021-03-03.
"Selenicereus validus S.Arias & U.Guzmán". Plants of the World Online. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Retrieved 2021-03-03.
Anderson, Edward F. (2001), "Cacti as Food", The Cactus Family, Pentland, Oregon: Timber Press, pp. 55–60, ISBN 978-0-88192-498-5

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