Key tree cactus
Pilosocereus polygonus
Cactaceae


Landscape Uses:

Accent or specimen shrub. Because of its rarity and the chance of genetic contamination, it is not recommended for general landscape use in South Florida.

Ecological Restoration Notes:

Very rare in coastal hammocks in the Florida Keys.
Availability:
Grown by enthusiasts and botanical gardens.
Description:
Large shrub or small tree.
Height:
Typically 5-15 feet in South Florida.
Growth Rate:
Moderate.
Range:
Florida Keys; West Indies. For a digitized image of Elbert Little's Florida range map, visit the Exploring Florida website.
Habitats:
Coastal hammocks and thickets.
Soils:
Moist, well-drained sandy or limestone soils, with or without humus.
Nutritional Requirements:
Moderate; can grow in nutrient poor soils, but needs some organic content to thrive.
Salt Water Tolerance:
Moderately low; does not tolerate long-term flooding by salt or brackish water, but tolerates short term inunation by salt water from storm surge with minimal damage.
Salt Wind Tolerance:
Moderate; grows near salt water, but is protected from direct salt spray by other vegetation.
Drought Tolerance:
High; does not require any supplemental water once established.
Light Requirements:
Full sun to light shade.
Flower Color:
Yellowish-white.
Flower Characteristics:
Showy.
Flowering Season:
All year.
Fruit:
Large, red berry.
Wildlife and Ecology:
Horticultural Notes:
Can be grown from seed and cuttings.
Comments:
Material from both South Florida and elsewhere in the West Indies is in cultivation in South Florida. Horticultural synonyms: P. bahamensis, P. robinii.

For more information, visit our Floristic Inventory of the Florida Keys Database Online.


Keith A. Bradley
in habitat, Abaco Island, Bahamas, 2006
George D. Gann
in habitat, Dominican Republic, 2011, with Bromelia pinguin
George D. Gann
in habitat, Dominican Republic, 2011
George D. Gann
in habitat, Dominican Republic, 2011
George D. Gann
in habitat, Dominican Republic, 2011
George D. Gann
in habitat, Dominican Republic, 2011
George D. Gann
in habitat, Dominican Republic, 2011, with Zamia pumila
Roger L. Hammer
in habitat, Florida Keys