Hylocereus minutiflorus (also called Selenicereus minutiflorus, Cereus minutiflorus / minutiflora, Wilmattea minutiflora) – is a type of flowering dragon fruit plant in the Cactaceae family.
It is native to the countries of Belize, Guatemala, and Honduras. It is an extremely rare species in the wild. The species is found within the two protected areas: Rio Dulce National Park and the Chocón-Machacas Biotope.
The generic name “Hylocereus” comes from the Greek noun “ύλη” (hylé), which means “of the forests”, and the suffix “Cereus”, which means “the Cereus of the forests”. The name minutiflorus comes from Latin and means “with small flowers”.
It was first collected at Lake Isabal in 1907 by R.H. Peters, then some specimens were transplanted to Washington, where it flowered in June 1909, July 1911 and 1912.
The first description of Hylocereus minutiflorus was published in 1913 by Nathaniel Lord Britton and Joseph Nelson Rose (“Contributions from the United States National Herbarium”). David Richard Hunt placed the species in the genus Selenicereus in 2017. Other nomenclatural synonyms include Cereus minutiflorus (Britton & Rose) Vaupel (1913) and Wilmattea minutiflora (Britton & Rose) Britton & Rose (1920).
Night-blooming W. minutiflora, which is also called Hylocereus minutiflorus, looks like Hylocereus but has much smaller blooms with perianth tubes that are very short. It is a thin, high-climbing vine with dark green, three-angled stems that root in the air. The stems of all cacti have special spots called areoles (points of origin of spines, bristles, branches, and flowers). These are all the same in Wilmattea, and each one has one to three short spines. It has a shallow root system, so it needs soil that is loose and well-drained.
The pH of the soil should be between 5.5 and 6.5, and the soil should be rich in organic matter.
The flowers are single and smell good. Their ovaries have short scales with felty hairs on them and sometimes one or more bristles in the space between. The flower is about an inch across. Its inner perianth segments are pointed and white, while the outer ones are rounded and reddish.
|Cactus Forms (Cactoideae)
|Hylocereus / Selenicereus
Pitahaya grows as a long climbing plant or a hanging shrub. Its stems are 1.5 to 3.5 centimeters in diameter and have three or four dark green ribs. The ribs are all cut in the same way, and the edges are not keratinized. The spines on the areolas look like hair and are between 2 and 10 mm long (or sometimes not there at all). They are yellow with black spots.
The fragrant, cream-colored flowers appear on older shoots. They are short funnel-shaped, without a distinct flower tube and without a clearly separated pericarp. The flowers are 3 to 3.5 centimeters long and reach diameters of 8 to 9 centimeters.
The spherical, magenta-colored pitaya fruits are up to 4.5 centimeters long. The fruit’s white flesh has a sweet, strawberry-like flavor and is high in antioxidants. It is also high in vitamin C and other nutrients.
The pollination seems to be due to nocturnal butterflies and the distribution of seeds is carried out by frugivorous birds.
It can be used the same way as Hylocereus and needs the same care, such as warm conditions and some shade.
The ecology of Hylocereus minutiflorus is fascinating. It is one of the few cacti that can grow in the shade. It has small, delicate flowers that are pollinated by hummingbirds. The cactus also has a symbiotic relationship with ants, which protect it from predators and help to collect nectar.
Distribution, systematics and endangerment
Selenicereus minutiflorus is distributed in southern Mexico, Guatemala, southern Belize, and Honduras at elevations up to 830 meters. Moreover, The species in this genus live in southern Texas, eastern Mexico, Central America, the West Indies, and along the northern coast of South America. One species has also been found in Argentina.
The species is listed as Vulnerable (VU) in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
In conclusion, Hylocereus minutiflorus is a unique and interesting cactus that deserves further attention. It has many potential applications, both in the horticulture industry and in research. With more research, this cactus could become an important part of our lives.