Barbwire cactus, Dildoe cactus
Acanthocereus tetragonus
Cactaceae


Landscape Uses:

Primarily recommended for natural landscapes and habitat restorations. Also useful in spiny barrier plantings.

Ecological Restoration Notes:

Generally an uncommon element of coastal hammocks, but occasionally forms dense thickets.
Availability:
Grown by enthusiasts and occasionally by native plant nurseries. Available in Key West at Key West Tropical Forest & Botanical Garden (305-296-1504).
Description:
Medium vinelike spiny shrub, sometimes forming dense thickets.
Height:
Typically 6-8 feet in height, but sometimes climbing higher in other vegetation.
Growth Rate:
Moderate.
Range:
Monroe County Keys north along the coasts to St. Lucie and Lee counties; West Indies, Texas, Mexico, Central America and northern South America. Somewhat sporadic along the South Florida coastline.
Habitats:
Coastal hammocks.
Soils:
Moist, well-drained sandy or limestone soils, with humusy top layer.
Nutritional Requirements:
Moderate; can grow in nutrient poor soils, but needs some organic content to thrive.
Salt Water Tolerance:
Moderate; tolerates brackish water or occasional inundation by salt water.
Salt Wind Tolerance:
High; can tolerate moderate amounts of salt wind without injury.
Drought Tolerance:
High; does not require any supplemental water once established.
Light Requirements:
Light shade to moderate shade.
Flower Color:
White.
Flower Characteristics:
Showy; opens at night.
Flowering Season:
All year.
Fruit:
Red, spiny, tubercled berry.
Wildlife and Ecology:
Horticultural Notes:
Easily grown from seed. It can also be grown from stem cuttings with the base planted about 2" in the ground.
Comments:
Barbwire cactus is heavily armed with spines. It is listed as threatened by the state of Florida.


James Johnson, 2014
In habitat, Everglades National Park, Florida
George D. Gann, 2013
In habitat, northern Colombia
George D. Gann, 2013
In habitat, northern Colombia
George D. Gann, 2013
Seedlings in habitat, Everglades National Park, Key Largo,
Florida. Often confused with seedlings of Harrisia simpsonii.
George D. Gann, 2013
In habitat, Everglades National Park, Key Largo, Florida
George D. Gann, 2013
In habitat, Everglades National Park, Key Largo, Florida
Shirley Denton
Shirley Denton

Shirley Denton