Disocactus flagelliformis (L.) Barthlott

Frost tender, pendant, perennial cactus with greyish-green, ribbed stems with reddish-brown spines and narrowly tubular, funnel-shaped, purple-red flowers, 8cm long in spring and summer.  [RHSE, Hortus].

Horticultural & Botanical History

‘Grows spontaneously in South-America, and the West-Indies, flowers in our dry stoves early in June, is tolerably hardy, and will thrive even in a common green-house, that has a flue to keep out the severe frosts.  It is superior to all its congeners in the brilliancy of its colour, nor are its blossoms so fugacious as many of the other species.  No plant is more easily propagated by cuttings; these Miller recommends to be laid by in a dry place for a fortnight, or three weeks, then to be planted in pots, filled with a mixture of loam and lime rubbish, having some stones laid in the bottom of the pot to drain off the moisture, and afterwards plunged into a gentle hot-bed of Tanners bark, to facilitate their rooting, giving them once a week a gentle watering: this business to be done the beginning of July.’  [BM t.17/1787]. 

Cultivated in Europe since c.1690 and still grown [in 1838] on a substantial scale in Germany and elsewhere for the extraction of a heart stimulant drug.  [Don].

History at Camden Park

Listed in all published catalogues [T.297/1843].


Published Mar 02, 2010 - 02:22 PM | Last updated Oct 28, 2011 - 11:33 AM

Figured is a prickly cactus with pendant, tubular stems and trumpet-shaped red flowers.  Curtis's Botanical Magazine t.17, 1787.

Disocactus flagelliformis (L.) Barthlott | BM t.17/1787 as Cactus flagelliformis L. | BHL


More details about Disocactus flagelliformis (L.) Barthlott
Family Cactaceae
Region of origin

Central and North America

  • Cereus flagelliformis (L.) Mill.
  • Cactus flagelliformis L.
  • Aporocactus flagelliformis (L.) Lem.


Common Name

Rat?s tail cactus

Name in the Camden Park Record

Cereus flagelliformis 

Confidence level high