Selenicereus hamatus

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Selenicereus hamatus
Photo: Mary Crowell
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Core eudicots
Order: Caryophyllales
Family: Cactaceae
Genus: Selenicereus
Species: S. hamatus
Binomial name
Selenicereus hamatus
(Scheidweiler) Britton & Rose
  • Cereus hamatus Scheidweiler (1837) Allg. gartenz. 5:371
  • Cereus rostratus Lemaire (1838) Cact Nov. 29
  • Selenicereus hamatus (Scheidweiler) Britton & Rose (1909) Contr. U. S. Nat. Herb. 12:430

Selenicereus hamatus is a species of Cactaceae and produce one of the largest flowers in the family. It is a cultivated ornamental vine. The species is native to Mexico.


Hamatus (lat.) = hooked. Refers to the curiously hooked stems.


Scheidweiler thought that this species originally came from Mexico and this is probably correct. But, still no evidently wild plant has been found. Even though a quite common species, not much is known about its history.

Origin and habitat[edit]

S & E Mexico. Only known in cultivation.


S. hamatus is a distinct species, distantly related with the grandiflorus-complex. Selenicereus radicans (DC.) A. Berger seems to belong here, but it's impossible to know for sure as the original description is brief and no type seems to exist. The publication of Cereus radicans predates C. hamatus.


An easily cultivated, fast growing plant. Needs a compost containing plenty of humus and sufficient moisture in summer. Should not be kept under 10°C (50°F) in winter. Can be grown in semi-shade or in full sun. Extra light in the early spring will stimulate budding. Only mature plats produces flowers. It will make an excellent pendent plant.


Stems scandent, clambering or sprawling, branching, producing few aerial roots, very vigorous, to 5–12 m long or more, often growing 2 m or more in a season, 16–22 mm thick; ribs 4 or rarely 3-5, strong, later terete, acute; areoles small, brownish or black, remote, on the upper edges of knubby projektions, these often forming obtuse, deflexed spurs about 1 cm long, internodes 4–5 cm; spines 5-6, ca 5 mm long, whitish, bristle like, 1-3 lower or central spines usually brown or black; epidermis glossy grass or light green. Flowers produced one by one over a longer period than most other species, born sparingly near tips of mature stems, 30–40 cm long, 20–30 cm in Ø, nocturnal and strongly scented with an aromatic fragrance, tepals rotate, inner ones forming a broad cup; pericarpel oval, knobby, ca 4 cm thick, covered with white spines and brown or black hairs, bracteoles green with white tips.; receptacle ca 10–14 cm long, green, purplish towards the apex, ca 22 mm in Ø, its areoles with short, retuse, 1–12 mm long bracteoles, long black hairs and spines, upper bracteoles longer, the uppermost tipped purple; outer tepals 15 cm long, in 4 series, the outermost more narrow, reddish purple outside, chrome yellow inside, innermost broader, to 2 cm, acute to acuminate, greenish yellow outside, chrome yellow inside; inner tepals 12 cm, in 3 series, very broad, retuse, mucronate, white; stamens creamy white, anthers yellow; style thick, longer than the stamens, yellowish, lobes 15-18. Fruit oval, 10x8 cm, green or yellow, covered densely with yellowish spines, 2,5 cm long.


  • Anderson, E. F. 2001. The cactus family. Timber Press, Portland, Oregon, USA.