Monstrose Apple Cactus, etc., etc.
Cereus repandus f. monstruosus cv. ’Rojo
KER-ee-us REP-an-dus mon-stru-OH-sus
Cereus peruvianus var. monstrose cv. ‘Rojo’
KER-ee-us per-u-vee-AN-us mon-STROHZ
Cereus repandus (L.) Mill. is the correct and accepted scientific name for this species of cactus. It was named and described as such by Philip Miller in the eighth edition of Gardener’s Dictionary in 1768. It was first described as Cactus repandus by Carl von Linnaeus in the first edition of Species Plantarum in 1753.
The synonym, Cereus peruvianus (L.) Mill., was also named and described as such by Philip Miller in the same publication. Carl von Linnaeus also described it as Cactus peruvianus in the same edition of Species Plantarum.
Cereus peruvianus var. monstrosus DC. was named and described by Augustin Pyramus de Candolle in Prodromus Systematis Naturalis Regni Vegetabilis in 1828. I think he should have described it as “f.” instead of “var.” because the monstrosus mutation is a form, not a variety.
Plants of the World Online lists 22 synonyms of Cereus repandus. Many species of the taller growing Cereus look so much alike and were “discovered” by many botanists. Many cactus were given different names and some species are quite variable. It will no doubt take many years to get some of the species names all sorted out. Currently, as of the last update of this page on 6-30-19, Plants of the World Online by Kew recognizes 26 accepted species in the Cereus genus. That’s up one from the last time and it even gained another synonym.
While there are “monstrosus” forms found in the wild, the cultivar ‘Rojo’ originated in cultivation. There are many different monstrosus “forms” and some look quite interesting and make great plants to collect.
I am calling this cactus Cereus repandus f. monstruosus even though it is not an accepted infraspecific name. It is, after all, a monstrose or monstruosus form so it should be listed as such. Some say monstrose, monstrosa, monstruosus. It is a “form” (f.) not a “variety” (var.). ‘Rojo’ is the cultivar name so it needs to be included as well.
I bought this cactus on 9-15-10 from Lowe’s in Greenville, Mississippi. The label stated it was a Cereus peruvianus monstrose cv. ‘Rojo’. When I was making my first Belmont Rooster blog in 2013, I found The Plant List and it said the Cereus peruvianus was a synonym of Cereus repandus but did not list a “monstrose”.
The industry continues to sell plants listed as Cereus peruvianus var. monstrose ‘Rojo’ even though Cereus peruvianus is not a valid name. This species was never a native of Peru which is probably why it is now a synonym of Cereus repandus.
Daiv Freeman of the CactusGuide has this to say about Cereus peruvianus: “Cereus peruvianus is not an officially recognized name and is often applied to “cereus-like” cactus in cultivation with no known origin.”
When I moved back to the family farm in mid-Missouri in February 2013, I brought my Cereus repandus var. monstruosus ‘Rojo’ with me. When I repotted the cactus in the spring of 2012, I think, and wound up with four. I gave one away and one died which left me with these two.
Common Name: Monstrose Apple Cactus
Origin: Northern South America but the cultivar is nursery grown.
Light: Full sun. If you overwinter your cactus inside, you need to introduce them to full sun slowly over a period of time. I normally keep mine in light shade to sun and they do fine.
Soil: Fast-draining. Potting soil amended with grit and pumice or perlite.
Water: Normal watering in the summer, dry in the winter.
I lost my first Cereus repandus var. monstrosus ‘Rojo’ in the summer of 2014, but I found another one from Wal-Mart on March 19, 2018.
Although this one is much different in shape than my first Cereus repandus var. monstrosus ‘Rojo” is is still the same cultivar. Even without being a cultivar, there are many different forms of “monstrosus” shapes in the wild and in cultivation. The color of the spines is characteristic of the cultivar ‘Rojo’.
My new Cereus repandus var. monstrose measured 5 1/2” tall x 3 3/8” wide. It is in a 3 1/4” wide x 3” tall pot. I think it has a ways to go before it needs repotting but I will check the roots later. I bought four cacti and two succulents in all and they were soaking wet…
I think this new Cereus repandus f. monstruosus is going to make a great addition to my cactus collection.
Once the temperatures warmed up I moved the potted plants from the house back outside again for the summer.
I moved most of my plants to the front porch on July 4 then later I moved the cactus to the back porch. We had a Japanese Beetle invasion and the location the potted plants were in completely changed. Two of the main reasons I moved the plants was because the light completely changed plus the beetles were beginning to sample the plants… Crickets can also be an issue there, even for a few cactus.
As temperatures started cooling down I had to move the potted plants inside for the winter. I always measure the cactus when I move them back inside because some grow so slow I like to measure them to see if they are growing. Even though I only had this cactus a few months, I measured t again anyway. When I moved the plants back inside on October 10, it measured 6 7/8″ tall x 3 3/4″ wide. WOW! It was 5 1/2″ tall x 3 3/8″ when I bought it on March 19!
I took the cactus outside on November 29 for a photo shoot since it was a nice spring-like day. I wanted to make a post comparing the cactus in my collection.
You can see the stems are kind of strange with no apparent pattern to the arrangement of their tubercles. Its areoles have small brownish radial and central spines. Hmmm… The newer areoles have small tufts of wool.
The spines are thin and kind of wiry. You can run your finger down them and not get stuck.
The cactus and on the back porch and most of the succulents are on the front porch once again for the summer. The Cereus repandus f. monstruosus ‘Rojo’ made it through the winter inside with flying colors and is now enjoying the sun.
I will continue adding more photos and information as time goes by.
The link to Llifle below will take to pages on the species and also useful growing information.
I hope you enjoyed this page and maybe found it useful. If you have any comments, questions or suggestions, I would like to hear from you. Please click on “like” if you visited this page. It helps us bloggers stay motivated. 🙂 You can check out the links below for further reading. The links take you directly to the genus and species of this plant. You can also send me an email at email@example.com.