Epiphyllum


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Epiphyllum

 

a genus of dwarf shrubs of the family Cactaceae. The cylindrical, primarily woody stems gradually become flat and leaflike or, more rarely, three-angled shoots with a serrated or notched edge. The leaves are reduced to small scales. The white or cream-colored solitary nocturnal flowers are funnelform and have a long tube. There are about 20 species, found throughout South America, as well as in forests and along the coasts of Mexico. Many hybrids are cultivated in greenhouses; they are produced by crossing Epiphyllum with large-flowered cereuses, primarily of the genus Hylocereus.

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Photo: (1--Cover--Color) On the cover: The night-blooming epiphyllum flowers only once or twice a year, producing blossoms up to 6 inches in diameter.
2--Color) At right, Marguerite Shadle invited friends to her Burbank home to see her night-blooming epiphyllum, which flowered only Monday and Tuesday nights.
In the case of Epiphyllum, a spineless cactus that consists solely of floppy, often deeply scalloped, green cladodes (stems), the fruit tends to be sweeter if it is the result of cross-pollination between two different Ephiphyllum species or clones.
A close relative of Epiphyllum is the vining pitaya cactus (Hylocereus and Selenicereus species), whose so-called dragon fruit have attractive magenta or yellow skin, and whose flavor varies from bland to magnificent, depending on the cultivar.
Acicular crystals are rare in Cactoideae, and they occur in members of such Hylocereeae as Epiphyllum and Selenicereus (Mauseth et al.
For example, species may show dimorphic or trimorphic wood-producing fibers in the juvenile stem, and only vessels and parenchyma develop as vascular cambium matures in older plants, such as Epiphyllum, Hylocereus.