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Barbwire cactus, Dildoe cactus
Acanthocereus tetragonus
Cactaceae
 

Copyright by: George D. Gann, 2013
In habitat, Everglades National Park, Key Largo, Florida

General 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.

Dimensions: 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.

Map of select IRC data from peninsular Florida.

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.

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.


Copyright by: George D. Gann, 2013
In habitat, Everglades National Park, Key Largo, Florida

Copyright by: James Johnson, 2014
In habitat, Everglades National Park, Florida

Copyright by: George D. Gann, 2013
Seedlings in habitat, Everglades National Park, Key Largo,
Florida. Often confused with seedlings of Harrisia simpsonii.

Copyright by: George D. Gann, 2013
In habitat, Everglades National Park, Key Largo, Florida

Copyright by: George D. Gann, 2013
In habitat, northern Colombia

Copyright by: George D. Gann, 2013
In habitat, northern Colombia

Copyright by: Shirley Denton

Copyright by: Shirley Denton

Copyright by: Shirley Denton

Copyright by: Shirley Denton


Other data on Acanthocereus tetragonus available from:



 
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