It is edible and identical to the pitaya fruit of the closely similar Genus Hylocereus but not quite as huge, at 3-4 cm in length. The epiphyllum with broad leaves (Epiphyllum Oxypetalum) is well-known. It has large, highly aromatic flowers that typically only bloom for one night only.
Thorough pigment analysisin the peel and fruit juice from Epiphyllum fruits and Epiphyllum flowers is reported for the first time. While the total betalain content of fruit was comparable with that of some Opuntia and Hylocereus clones, pigment pattern of Epiphyllum flowers may aid in differentiation of hybrids similar to previous reports on Opuntia and Hylocereus fruits. Overall, the results appear to be promising to extend investigations on Epiphyllum both from a botanical view butalso with respect to their bioactive substances.
The epiphytic cactus Epiphyllum oxypetalum is a native of Central and South America. Its etymology combines the words “oxus” for pointed and “petalum” for petal (Colombia, Venezuela, Brazil).
It features slender, cylindrical primary stems that develop into flattened, lanceolate secondary stems.
It develops swiftly in culture and expands to astonishing sizes quickly.
It is notable for its magnificent, fragrant flowering, which occurs just for one night at night and is nocturnal.
Its blossoms are so beautiful that it also goes by the name “Belle de nuit,” and it is widely planted all over the world, especially in Asia, where its flowering even inspires festivities. As early as 1645, China makes reference to it.
Like many botanical Epiphyllum, Epiphyllum oxypetalum is self-sterile, which means that the only way to produce fruits and receive seeds is through fertilization of flowers from two distinct clones. In order to see the fruits develop, it is therefore required to have two separate clones of the plant; by contrast, cuttings (vegetative reproduction) result in plants that are one and the same clone and are inappropriate for fertilizing one another in a self-sterile plant.
It is possible to produce as many clones through sexual reproduction (reproduction by seed) as seeds that were successfully sowed and grown.
This interesting phenomenon in combination with the accumulation of mucilage with a high water binding capacity in fruit pulp may prevent the premature dehydration of fruits and prolong their exploitability.
Types and Varieties of Epiphyllum
Approximately two dozen species belong to the genus Epiphyllum. At home, both natural varieties and artificially bred are cultivated.
Epiphyllum oxypetalum, or sour (Epiphyllum oxypetalum)
Among all forest cactus, Epiphyllum oxypetalum is the most well-liked. A mature specimen can reach a height of three meters. Over time, the plant’s flat, curled stems with wavy edges turn woody. The shoots measure 20 cm in width. Snow-white, 20 cm high, and 18 to 20 cm in diameter, the buds are also. Epiphyllum sour-petal has been used as the foundation for the production of numerous hybrid cultivars with different inflorescence size and color variations.
Epiphyllum Anguliger, or Angular (Epiphyllum Anguliger)
Epiphyllum angularis is a succulent with many branches that has triangular or flattened shoots that are a bright green color. The stems are 4 to 8 cm wide and 9 to 10 centimeters in length. Large, vivid scarlet-colored blossoms with a delightful scent are in bloom. Each blossom has a diameter of up to 10 cm.
Epiphyllum Hooker, or Sharp-Petaled (Epiphyllum Hookeri)
It can be found throughout Mexico and the northern region of South America in its natural habitat. Cacti grow to enormous sizes in their natural habitats. Large snow-white blossoms with a delicate perfume adorn their long stalks. The actual shoots are fairly heavy and develop into drooping arcs.
Epiphyllum Jagged (Epiphyllum Crenatum)
The distinctive feature of Epiphyllum jagged is its emerald-colored branches, which can reach 70 centimeters in length and 10 centimeters in width. The stems’ entire edge is covered in cuts. Large, aromatic, and measuring 12–15 cm in diameter, the blossoms are. Numerous variations have been created based on the species, with the main distinctions being the color of the buds.
Epiphyllum Phyllanthus (Epiphyllum Phyllanthus)
The bright green stems of the native Latin American plant Epiphyllum phyllanthus range in length from 50 to 100 centimeters. The huge, light pink-painted buds are painted (up to 25 centimeters in diameter). Flowers typically grow in single-flower inflorescences, however this is not always the case.
Epiphyllum Guatemalan (Epiphyllum Guatemalense)
The bright green, tall, and wide stems of Epiphyllum Guatemala. Monstrosa is a well-known cultivar with shoots that curl in various directions and have various shapes on various regions. The big, light to deep pink buds are rounded.
Epiphyllum Thomas (Epiphyllum Thomasianum)
Thomas epiphyllum stems can reach lengths of up to 4 meters in the wild, but only 60–70 centimeters at home. The snow-white buds have a 22–25 centimeter diameter.
Epiphyllum Just Pru (Epiphyllum Just Pru)
Although this hybrid type may thrive in a variety of environmental settings, the cactus prefers temperatures between 18 and 20 degrees. At the end of April, epiphyllum blooms. The buds’ base is a light pink color, while their ends are more saturated. The diameter of each blossom is 13–15 cm.
Epiphyllum Ackerman (Epiphyllum Ackermanii)
Epiphyllum Ackerman is an imperious plant with hanging stems, which are covered with short processes with teeth. In the flowering season, rich scarlet buds bloom on the shoots.
Typically, Epiphyllum oxypetalum flowers in the spring or summer. A low nitrogen fertilizer like (2-7-7) can be used once per month from spring to fall for the optimum blooms.
Your cactus may grow larger overall while producing fewer flowers if you overfeed it with nitrogen. Always read the instructions on the package to ensure adequate dilution.
Epiphyllums require particular attention prior to and throughout flowering. Cacti attempt to avoid touching as soon as the budding stage begins. This means that you cannot move a flower pot to a different location, flip it to face the sun-facing side, or even worse, replant it.
You can run across a difficulty when cultivating epiphyllum that prevents the cactus from blooming at all.
Numerous factors can contribute to this, including a lack of light, frequent and intense watering while the plant is already chilly during the dormant season, the presence of nitrogen in additions, or “hibernation” in high temperatures.
Epiphyllum will only begin to bloom if you can organize suitable living conditions for it, and also properly care for your home flower. First of all, make sure that the cactus has enough fertilizer, water and light.
Suspend the application of nitrogen-containing compounds. During the dormant period, take the pot to a room with a temperature of 12 ° C.
If everything is done correctly and, importantly, on time, next year the epiphyllum will delight you with its amazing flowers.
Does Queen of the Night Produce Fruit?
The Queen of the Night is a plant that creates fragrant, white flowers with a beautiful aroma. Though it’s sold as an ornamental plant, it does have some fruit that is edible.
The Queen of the Night, produces fragrant, white flowers at night. These flowers are up to 1 foot long and can be quite showy. The blooms then fall off and the plant will continue to bloom all summer.
In addition to its white flowers, the plant also produces bright red fruit. The fruit looks like a small cherry tomato and is even sweet to eat. They are edible right off the vine but are best when left to ripen on the plant until their skin turns glossy and dark red in color.
Is Epiphyllum the Same as Dragon Fruit?
Epiphyllum is a member of the cactus family and is commonly known as Orchid Cactus. It has large pink flowers on an easy-to-grow plant. Dragon fruit is just one of many varieties of epiphyllum. It flowers in the spring in greenhouses, and intermittently outside in the summer. When the plant is mature it is the source of the tasty Dragon Fruit. While epiphyllum grows outdoors in subtropical regions, it can also be grown indoors or in a greenhouse.
Can You Eat Epiphyllum Fruit?
Can you eat epiphyllum fruit? Technically, yes. But should you eat it? It’s a little more complicated than that.
The fruit is edible, very similar to the pitaya fruit from the closely related genus Hylocereus, though not so large, being only 3–4 cm long.
The broad-leaved epiphyllum (Epiphyllum oxypetalum) is particularly well-known. It bears large, strongly fragrant flowers that each usually open for a single night only.
They are much loved by pollinators such as hummingbirds and bees. However, if you’re going to eat them (which many people do), make sure they’re fully ripe—the color of the skin should be dark red or purple, and the texture should be soft. If you pull it off the vine before it’s ripe and allow it to ripen off the vine, it will be very tart.
Is Epiphyllum Oxypetalum Toxic to Cats?
As for toxicity to humans, the ASPCA ranks Epiphyllum oxypetalum as only “slightly toxic” when ingested. The Michigan State University Extension says that it has never received a report of human poisoning in connection with this plant. However, you should still keep your epiphyllum oxypetalum out of reach of children and pets if you have them at home.
Can You Eat Epiphyllum Flower?
The pods on Epiphyllum plants are edible. The best taste seems to be when they are plump and bright red. Once the pod is opened, you will find the inside lined with tiny black seeds. This makes the pod look like a miniature watermelon. You can eat this pod raw or cooked.
To remove the seeds from the pod, simply cut it in half and scrape out the seeds with a spoon. The seeds will have a watermelon rind texture to them, so use caution if you intend to eat them raw as they can be tough on your teeth. However, they are perfect for roasting and mashing into patties or crackers.
If you want to cook the pods, slice them into thin strips and boil them in a small amount of water until tender. Add salt and pepper to taste, as well as other spices if desired. They make a great side dish option with any protein-rich meal!