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Re: Epiphyllums

  • Subject: Re: Epiphyllums
  • From: "Leo A. Martin" <leo@possi.org>
  • Date: Tue, 29 Apr 2008 18:48:12 -0700 (MST)

Steve wrote

> There is one individual on that site who keeps insisting Epiphyllum
> species are not a rain forest plant.  Virtually everything I've been able
> to find and read indicates they are just that and are found from Southern
> Mexico, all of Central America, and in South America through Venezuela,
> the Guiana Shield, and all down the western side of the continent through
> Bolivia as well as in Brazil.  I just can't figure out how an epiphytic
> plant that populates that region of the world could not be a rain forest
> species!

Steve - They aren't rain forest plants. I've seen some of them in Mexico.
There are indeed cacti that are rain forest plants but Epiphyllum in
general aren't, with the possible exception of E. chrysocardium.

They are denizens of tropical deciduous forest. In other words, 4 months
of summer rain, 8 months of no rain (but with normal nighttime dew.) Most
(not all) of Mexico has this climate regime. I haven't been to Central
America but there's plenty of tropical deciduous forest there too.

The epi hybrids involve lots of other genera. The few species remaining in
Epiphyllum have nocturnal white flowers. The other colors in hybrids come
from other genera. The species may take a tiny amount of frost but almost
all the hybrids are extremely tender.

Hardier plants with flowers similar to Epiphyllum are some of the
Selenicereus species. They are vining epiphytes that are what was
originally meant by "Queen of the Night Cactus."

Leo Martin
Phoenix Arizona USA

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