Cereus repandus f. monstruosus ‘Rojo’ (Syn. Cereus peruvianus var. monstrose ‘Rojo’)

Cereus repandus f. monstruosus ‘Rojo’ after I bought it from Lowe’s in Greenville, Mississippi on 9-15-10. Photo #59-18.

Monstrose Apple Cactus, etc., etc.

Cereus repandus f. monstruosus ’Rojo

KER-ee-us  REP-an-dus  mon-stru-OH-sus


Cereus peruvianus var. monstrose ‘Rojo’

KER-ee-us  per-u-vee-AN-us  mon-STROHZ

Synonyms of Cereus repandus (28) Updated on 12-5-22 from Plants of the World Online):  Acanthocereus horribarbis (Salm-Dyck) Borg (1937), Cactus peruvianus L. (1753), Cactus repandus L. (1753), Cephalocereus atroviridis (Backeb.) Borg (1951), Cephalocereus remolinensis (Backeb.) Borg (1937), Cereus atroviridis Backeb. 1931), Cereus gracilis Haw. (1827)(nom. illeg.), Cereus grenadensis Britton & Rose (1920), Cereus horribarbis Salm-Dyck (1850), Cereus lanuginosus Mill. (1768), Cereus margaritensis J.R.Johnst. (1905), Cereus peruvianus (L.) Mill. (1768), Cereus remolinensis Backeb. (1930), Cereus repandus var. laetevirens Salm-Dyck (1834)(nom. subnud.), Neoraimondia peruviana (L.) F.Ritter 1981), Pilocereus atroviridis Backeb. (1930), Pilocereus fricii Backeb. (1930), Pilocereus remolinensis Backeb. (1930), Pilocereus repandus (L.) K.Schum. (1894), Pilocereus russelianus subsp. margaritensis (J.R.Johnst.) Croizat (1950), Piptanthocereus peruvianus (L.) Riccob. (1909), Stenocereus peruvianus (L.) R.Kiesling (1982), Subpilocereus atroviridis (Backeb.) Backeb. (1941), Subpilocereus grenadensis (Britton & Rose) Backeb. (1960), Subpilocereus margaritensis (J.R.Johnst.) Backeb. (1941), Subpilocereus remolinensis (Backeb.) Backeb. (1941), Subpilocereus repandus (L.) Backeb. (1951), Subpilocereus repandus var. weberi Backeb. (1960), Subpilocereus russelianus var. margaritensis (J.R.Johnst.) Backeb. (1951)

Cereus repandus (L.) Mill. is the 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.

A synonym but commonly used name, 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.

The genus, Cereus Mill., was named and described by Philip Miller in the fourth edition of The Gardeners Dictionary in 1754.

As of 12-5-22 when this page was last updated, Plants of the World Online by Kew lists 24 accepted species in the Cereus genus. It is a member of the plant family Cactaceae with 150 genera. Those numbers could change as updates are made on POWO.

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.  

The “var.” (variety) in a scientific name after the species name is applied when a mutation occurs in nature. An “f.” (form) is used to indicate the mutation that occurred in cultivation (garden, greenhouse, nursery, etc.). Information indicates ‘Rojo’ is the cultivar (cv.) name of a monstruosus form of a cactus that did not occur in nature.

While there are “monstrosus” forms found in the wild, the cultivar ‘Rojo’ originated in cultivation. There are many different monstrosus “forms” and “varieties” and some look quite interesting and make great plants to collect.


Cereus repandus f. monstruosus ‘Rojo’ on 8-19-11, #74-6.

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.

At one point, Cereus peruvianus var. monstrosus DC. was named and described by Augustin Pyramus de Candolle in Prodromus Systematis Naturalis Regni Vegetabilis in 1828. This name is a synonym of Cereus hildmannianus subsp. hildmannianus… You will also notice in the above list of synonyms Cereus peruvianus (L.) Mill. It was named as such by Philip Miller in 1768.

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.”


Cereus repandus f. monstruosus ‘Rojo’ on 4-27-13, #147-4.

When I moved back to the family farm in mid-Missouri in February 2013, I brought my Cereus repandus f. 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
Family: Cactaceae
Origin: Northern South America but the cultivar is nursery grown.
Zones: 9-11
Light: Full sun to light shade.
Soil: Fast-draining. 2 parts good quality potting soil amended with 1 part additional perlite and 1 part chicken grit. Now I use a 50/50 mixture of Miracle Grow Potting soil and pumice.
Water: Normal watering in the summer, dry in the winter.

Cereus repandus f. monstruosus ‘Rojo’ on 12-7-13, #208-23.


I lost my first Cereus repandus f. monstrosus ‘Rojo’ in the summer of 2014, but I found another one from Walmart on March 19, 2018.

Cereus repandus f. monstruosus ‘Rojo’ after I brought it home on 3-19-18, #418-4.

Although this one is much different in shape than my first Cereus repandus var. monstrosus ‘Rojo” 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’.

Cereus repandus f. monstruosus ‘Rojo’ on 3-21-18, #419-2.

My new Cereus repandus f. monstruosus ‘Rojo’ 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…

Cereus repandus f. monstruosus ‘Rojo’ on 3-21-18, #419-3.

I think this new Cereus repandus f. monstruosus ‘Rojo’ is going to make a great addition to my cactus collection

Cereus repandus f. monstruosus ‘Rojo’ on 5-17-18, #443-25.

Once the temperatures warmed up I moved the potted plants from the house back outside again for the summer.

Cereus repandus f. monstruosus ‘Rojo’ on 7-29-18, #487-29.

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 cacti.

Cereus repandus f. monstruosus ‘Rojo’  at 6 7/8″ tall 3 3/4″ wide on 10-10-18, #519-19.

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 for a few months, I measured it 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!

Cereus repandus f. monstruosus ‘Rojo’ on 11-29-18, #534-5.

I took the cactus outside on November 29 for a photoshoot since it was a nice spring-like day. I wanted to make a post comparing the cactus in my collection.

Cereus repandus f. monstruosus ‘Rojo’ up close on 12-1-18, #535-4.

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.

A closer look at the Cereus repandus f. monstruosus ‘Rojo’ on 12-1-18, #535-5.

The spines are thin and kind of wiry. You can run your finger down them and not get stuck.


Cereus repandus f. monstruosus ‘Rojo’ on 6-22-19, #593-8.

The cactus are 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.

Cereus repandus f. monstruosus ‘Rojo’ at 8″ tall x 3 3/4″ wide on 10-11-19, #639-15.

Once again, “F” was in the forecast so I had to move the potted inside on October 11. As usual, I took photographs and measured the cactus as I was bringing them inside. The Cereus repandus f. monstruosus ‘Rojo’ measured 8″ tall x 3 3/4″ wide. It has grown 2 1/2″ taller since I brought it home in March 2018.

Cereus repandus f. monstruosus ‘Rojo’ from the top on 10-11-19, #639-16.

This is a great plant from top to bottom!


Cereus repandus f. monstruosus ‘Rojo’ at 8 1/4 tall x 4 1/4 wide on 10-15-20, #747-20.

‘Rojo’ is still doing well. I had to move the plants inside on October 15 because an “F” was in the forecast. When I moved the plants inside ‘Rojo’ measured 8 1/4″ tall x 4 1/4″ wide. It grew 1/4″ taller and 1/2″ wider since last year.


Cereus repandus f. monstruosus ‘Rojo’ at 9 3/4″ tall x 4 3/4″ wide on 10-28-21, #853-2.

The Cereus repandus f. monstruosus ‘Rojo’ grew another 1 1/2″ taller to 9 3/4″ and 1/2″ wider.

Cereus repandus f. monstruosus ‘Rojo’ from the top on 10-28-21, #853-3.

Always an interesting cactus from any angle…

Cereus repandus f. montruosus ‘Rojo’ at 10″ tall x 4 1/4″ wide on 10-16-22, #919-5.

Well, once again, temps were dropping on 10-16-22, so I had to bring the potted plants inside for the winter. ‘Rojo’ made it through the summer just fine and was 10″ tall x 4 1/4″ wide (where I took the measurement). The cactus and succulents were on the front porch in 2022…

I will continue adding more photos and information as time goes by.

The link to Llifle below will take you 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 thebelmontrooster@yahoo.com.


10 comments on “Cereus repandus f. monstruosus ‘Rojo’ (Syn. Cereus peruvianus var. monstrose ‘Rojo’)

  1. Koladrops says:

    I just bought one on Saturday and I found your article very enlightening. Thank you. I’m looking forward to caring for it

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Keld Herbst says:

    Your info helped me become clear that I have a Cereus repandus var. monstrosus cv. “Rojo”.

    Thank you! I love your blog 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Keld Herbst says:

    Would it be correct to assume that the red coloration of the spines gets more vivid in bright sun, and less so in less bright locations? (Mostly the top ones are red on mine, but they are not as vivid in color as yours). Perhaps I just need to accept it as a variation?


    • Hello Keld! I am not sure if it has to do with light or new growth. I have other species whose new spines are very bright red when new but turn white within a few weeks. Monstrose or monstrous (geez) forms come in a lot of variation are there are no two alike. Just look at how different the one I have now is compared the old one. You wouldn’t even think it was the same species… Take care and thanks for the comment!


  4. junipergarage says:

    Really helpful post, thank you! This helped me identify my new little cactus. I like your naming recommendation, as Peruvianus sounded off to me. Glad to discover your blog. Cheers from a fellow cactus collector!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Selina says:

    Hiya 🙂 I have one that was sold alongside the ‘rojo’ labeled ‘minima’ same name otherwise it looked very different I can eamil some pics or do you have an Instagram or Facebook for your cacti?

    Liked by 1 person

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