Previous species
Previous Species

Next Species
Next Species

Home Page

Order CD-ROMs from the site

Tell a Friend

Gardening Books

Gardening Catalogs


Santa Marta, Pitaya de Cerro
Scientific Name: Disocactus speciosus (Cav.) Britton & Rose
Synonym: Cereus serratus, Heliocereus speciosus var. superbus, Heliocereus superbus, Cereus superbus, Cereus speciosissimus, Heliocereus speciosissimus, Cactus speciosissimus, Heliocereus speciosus var. serratus, Cereus bifrons, Heliocereus speciosus var. amecamensis, Heliocereus amecamensis, Cereus speciosus var. amecamensis, Cereus amecamensis, Heliocereus speciosus, Cereus speciosus, Cactus speciosus, Disocactus speciosus, Heliocereus serratus
Family: Cactaceae
Santa Marta, Pitaya de Cerro (Disocactus  speciosus)
Disocactus speciosus, photo Ulf Eliasson
Recommended Temperature Zone:
USDA: 10b-12

Frost Tolerance: Keep above 50F (10C)

Minimum Avg. Temperature: 60F (15C)

Sun Exposure: Light shade

Origin: Central Mexico

Growth Habits: Occasionally epiphytic, much branched, erect at first, stems reddish at first and then dark red, 3 to 5 sharp wavy ribs, 0.4 inch high; areoles 1.2 in. apart (3 cm), with whitish felt; 5 to 8 spines at first, 0.4 to 0.6 in. long (1-1.5 cm), yellowish.

Watering Needs: Regular water

Propagation: Cuttings

A variety of D. speciosus with thicker 7-angled stems, reddish growing tops and glossy cinnabar red flowers was described as Heliocereus superbus. Heliocereus serratus, here also included in D. speciosus, has 4-angled (occasionally 3-angled) shorter stems, with serrated angles and stiff brownish spines.

Epiphyllum hybrid with probably D. speciosus as an ancestor

Disocactus amecamensis at Holly Gate Nursery, photo Terry Hewitt.

Blooming Habits:
Large pink to purplish-red flowers, up to 6 inches long (15 cm) with tuberculate ovary, green tube with reddish scales and white hairs. Edible red ovoid fruit, 1.2 to 2 inches long (3-5 cm).
A white flowered form of this species from Amecameca (Mexico State) was described as Heliocereus amecamensis.

Fruiting Habits:

Epibase, compiled by Ulf Eliasson

Las Cactaceas de Mexico

Check for Field Collection numbers at Ralph Martin's Site

Sponsors: Michigan Bulb - 120 x 60 Lawns Banner! Gurney's 120 x 60 A

We do get a small commission out of these sponsors that helps financing the website.  Let us know if you are satisfied or dissatisfied of their services, since obviously we are trying to advertise only for reputable garden supply companies.  They might be helpful to get plants not generally available at the local garden center, getting a new and unusual gardening tool or get a discount Better Homes and Gardens magazine subscription.


Desert Tropicals Home Page | List of All the Plants | More in the Cactaceae family | Tell your friends about this page

Desert-Tropicals is dedicated to provide gardening advice, gardening ideas, and information about flower of all kind for landscape and collections. We try to check carefully the identification of the plants on the illustrations as well as the other information from the page, but occasionally errors do occur. if you notice anything that needs to be changed please contact us. Thanks.

1998-2005 Philippe Faucon, All Rights Reserved.