Queen of the night

Cereus jamacaru
Queen of the night: Cereus jamacaru Queen of the night: Cereus jamacaru

Common name:

Queen of the night

Scientific name:

Cereus jamacaru (Cactaceae)

Alternative common names:

Peruvian apple cactus (English); nagblom; bobbejaanpaal (Afrikaans)

A spiny tree 3-7m high with thick, succulent branches arising from a short, woody trunk. Spines are in groups of 5-10 and the cut stems don’t exude a milky latex. No leaves but showy white flowers appear at night from November to January and produces yellowish-pink succulent berries. This cactus invades savanna and rocky ridges

Additional Info

  • Where does this species come from?

    South America

    What is its invasive status in South Africa?

    Existing legislation: CARA 2002 – Category 1 NEMBA – Category 1b

    Where in South Africa is it a problem?

    Scattered parts of the Western Cape, Eastern Cape and Free State and more widespread in Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga and especially Limpopo Province

    How does it spread?

    The seeds are spread by birds and monkeys that feed on the fruits

    Why is it a problem?

    It competes with and replaces indigenous species, forming dense infestations which reduces the carrying capacity of the land and the many spines on the plants cause injuries to grazing animals

    What does it look like?

    General description: A spiny tree with thick, succulent branches arising from a short, woody trunk; branches green to blue-green with prominent ribs; ribs sometimes broken and wavy. Flowers: White, showy flowers produced in November-January. Fruit/Seeds: Yellowish-pink to pink or red, succulent berries which are white inside with small, black seeds.

    Does the plant have any uses?

    Used as a hedge, ornamental and birds also feed on the fruits

    Plant me instead alternatives

    Common tree euphorbia (Euphorbia ingens), tree aloe (Aloe barberae), krantz aloe (Aloe arborescens).