Epiphyllum phyllanthus (L.) Haw.

Frost tender, semi-erect, bushy, semi-epiphytic cactus with cylindrical stems, 3-4-angled when old, stiff, leaf-like, scalloped branches with purple-shaded margins, and nocturnal, funnel-shaped, glistening white or pale yellow flowers, to 30cm long, with green- or red-tinged outer tepals and green tubes, in spring and summer.  To 2m.  [RHSE, Hortus].

Horticultural & Botanical History

‘Cultivated in British gardens, according to Hortus Kewensis, since the year 1710; yet its flowers are, I believe, rarely produced, and the few figures that exist of it in that state, give no idea of the delicacy and beauty of the blossom. […] During the present summer (1826), owing probably to a long course of uninterruptedly fine and dry weather, we have had more species of Cactus flowering in the stoves of the Glasgow Botanic Garden than we ever remember to have seen before: and among them, in the month of July, the present species bore three blossoms, each opening in successive evenings, and with amazing quickness, at about eight o’clock in the evening, closing between three and four in the morning, and yielding a most agreeable, but not very powerful, odour.’  [BM t.2692/1826].

Cultivated in Europe since 1810.  [PD].  Don.

History at Camden Park

Listed only in the 1850 and 1857 catalogues [T.415/1850].


Published Mar 02, 2010 - 05:24 PM | Last updated Jul 15, 2010 - 05:20 PM

Figured are smooth, leaf-like, scallop-edged branch and large white flower.  Curtis's Botanical Magazine t.2692, 1826.

Epiphyllum phyllanthus (L.) Haw. | BM t.2692/1826 | BHL

More details about Epiphyllum phyllanthus (L.) Haw.
Family Cactaceae
Region of origin

Central to South America

  • Epiphyllum hookeri Haw.
  • Epiphyllum gaillardae Britton & Rose
  • Cactus phyllanthus L.
  • Phyllocactus phyllanthus Link.
  • Phyllocactus gaillardae Vaupel
  • Epiphyllum hookeri Haw.
  • Epiphyllum gaillardae Britton & Rose
  • Opuntia phyllanthus Mill.
  • Phyllocactus phyllanthus Link
  • Rhipsalis macrocarpa Miquel
  • Rhipsalis phyllanthus Schumann
  • Hariota macrocarpa Kuntze
Common Name
Name in the Camden Park Record

Epiphyllum phyllanthus 

Confidence level high