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Products > Selenicereus anthonyanus
Selenicereus anthonyanus - Fishbone Cactus
Image of Selenicereus anthonyanus
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Succulent
Family: Cactaceae (Cactus)
Origin: Mexico (North America)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: Violet Red
Bloomtime: Spring/Summer
Fragrant Flowers: Yes
Synonyms: [Crytocereus anthonyanus]
Height: 2-6 feet
Width: 4-6 feet
Exposure: Cool Sun/Light Shade
Irrigation (H2O Info): Medium Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 30-32 F
Selenicereus anthonyanus (Fishbone Cactus) - A fast growing epiphytic scandent or climbing cactus that branches along a notched narrow stem and produces 2 to 3 foot long green 3 to 4 inch wide flat branches that have nearly 2 inch long by half inch wide lobes that are tapered towards a rounded apex so appear to be a pinnate leaf. The stems can adhere to porous surfaces and often have a few aerial roots. The large showy fragrant flowers appear in late spring and early summer and are open in late afternoon and evening, lasting only one day. They are 4 to 5 inches long by 5 to 8 inches wide with outer petals that are a dark violet rose color with white inner petals, yellow stamens and a prominent white branched pistil in the center. Plant in a rich well drained garden soil or potting soil in cool full coastal sun or part sun to light shade with more light in early spring known to stimulate flowering. Irrigate occasionally in the summer. Has proven hardy at least down to the low 30's F in our own garden. This plant is native to rainforests of Chiapas in southern Mexico, growing at an altitude of between 2,300 and 2,600 feet. Thomas MacDougall (of Furcraea macdougallii fame) first found this species in the forest near Ocozocoautla, Chiapas in 1946. He though it a close relative to Epiphyllum anguliger but then it flowered in the greenhouses of Dr. Harold E. Anthony in Englewood New Jersey in 1950 and it was obviously something different. Edward Alexander described it as Cryptocereus anthonyanus in the November-December 1950 issue of the journal of the Cactus and Succulent Society of America (Vol XXII No 6.), naming it for Dr. Anthony and using a name for the genus that literally means "hidden cereus", referencing the fact that the species remained long unknown within a region that had previously been thoroughly botanized. In 1989 the British botanist David Richard Hunt included it in with Selenicereus (Bradleya; Yearbook of the British Cactus and Succulent Society 7: 93. 1989) but Huntington Botanic Garden Director Myron Kimnach, listed it back in Cryptocereus when writing about it in his undated (but post 2010) manuscript The Species of Epiphytic Cacti. Because it is more often found listed Selenicereus anthonyanus we list it under this name until such time that this naming issue gets fully resolved. The name Selenicereus comes from Selene, the Greek goddess of the moon and the Latin word 'cereus' which means "waxy" in reference to it being a a night-blooming Cereus. This plant is considered to be an isolated species with no close allies with the larger Selenicereus chrysocardium its closest relative. Two other epiphytic cacti in different genera, Epiphyllum anguliger and Weberocereus imitans, show similar strongly notched flat stems and which, when not in flower, are not readily distinguishable from this species. It is also commonly called Rick Rack Cactus, Zig-zag cactus and St. Anthony's Rik-Rak. We thank Santa Barbara plantsmen and brothers, Don and David Harris, for first giving us cuttings of this interesting plant. 

This information about Selenicereus anthonyanus displayed is based on research conducted in our horticultural library and from reliable online resources. We also will relate observations made about it as it grows in our nursery gardens and other gardens we have visited, as well how the crops have performed in containers in our nursery field. We will also incorporate comments that we receive from others and we welcome hearing from anyone with additional information, particularly if they can share any cultural information that would aid others in growing it.