Selenicereus megalanthus (Yellow Pitahaya) - A fast growing vining cactus with long (up to 20 feet!) 1-2 inch thick 3-ribbed green stems that may lie procumbent along the ground or climb up on supporting plants or structures. The stems often bear aerial roots, white areoles and short spines with new growth bristling with hairs. The large nocturnal funnel-shaped flowers are about a foot long with numerous 4 inch long by 1 1/2-inch wide tepals and yellow stamens - thought to be the largest flowers of all cacti. These self-fertile flowers are followed by the ovoid yellow skinned fruit that have horn-like tuberculations that other dragon fruit do not have. The interior of the fruit is white with black seed and is described as having a pleasant mildly sweet flavor.
Plant in cool coastal full to part sun in a well-drained compost rich soil with ample water in summer months. Generally best in frost free areas but has been noted by others as hardy to 32°F with stems dying back in temperatures below 25°F.
Yellow Pitahaya is native to northern South America from Peru, Bolivia and Columbia, where it grows on trees. The name is derived from 'Selene', the Greek moon goddess in reference to the nocturnal flowers and the Latin word 'cereus', meaning "candle", which is a name used for upright cacti. This plant was originally described as Hylocereus megalanthus but in 2017, the genus Hylocereus was synonymized with Selenicereus. The specific epithet is from the Greek words 'mega' meaning large and 'anthos' meaning flower for the exceptionally large flowers of this species that are thought to be among the largest flowers within the cactus family. Besides Yellow Pitahaya it is also called Yellow Dragon Fruit, Kirin Fruit and Yellow pitaya.
The information about Selenicereus megalanthus displayed on this page is based on research conducted in our nursery library and from online sources we consider reliable. We will also relate those observations made of this plant as it grows in our nursery gardens and in other gardens that we have visited, as well how the crops have performed in containers in our nursery field. We will also incorporate comments we receive from others and welcome hearing from anyone who has additional information, particularly when they share cultural information that would aid others in growing it.