Harrisia fragrans

Small ex Britton & Rose

Cact. 2: 149, fig. 216, plate 19, figs. 1, 2. 1920.

Common names: Fragrant prickly-apple Caribbean applecactus
EndemicConservation concern
Synonyms: Cereus eriophorus var. fragrans (Small ex Britton & Rose) L. D. Benson Cereus fragrans (Small ex Britton & Rose) Little
Treatment appears in FNA Volume 4. Treatment on page 153. Mentioned on page 154.

Stems erect, reclining, or clambering, to 3–5 m; ribs 10–12. Spines 9–13 per areole, 2–4 cm, tipped yellow or completely yellowish when young. Flowers: flower tube 18–20 cm, smooth or scarcely ridged; scales flat or nearly so, with axillary tufts hairs; hairs white, soft, 10–15 mm; buds with white hairs. Fruits orange-red at maturity, obovoid, 60 mm diam.

Phenology: Flowering May.
Habitat: Mostly remnants of oak-red bay scrub on dry sand dunes, usually with Opuntia
Elevation: 0 m


Of conservation concern.

According to L. D. Benson (1982), Harrisia fragrans is a “canelike or shrubby plant [that] may be nearly lost in other vegetation growing up in disturbed areas of fields or the edges of the forest. Sometimes it stands above herbs and bushes.” It is easily cultivated, and J. K. Small (1932) observed “when planted en masse its hundreds of flowers present a rare sight all through the night. In fruit it is an attractive sight and also a great attraction as food for birds, many of whom are ravenously fond of the seeds.”

Harrisia fragrans differs from the Caribbean H. eriophora (Pfeiffer) Britton in fruit color (orange-red versus yellow), stem ribbing (10–12 versus 8–9), and spine number and morphology (9–13 per areole, 2–3 cm long, yellow tipped versus 6–9 per areole, 2.5–4.5 cm long, black tipped, respectively). L. D. Benson (1982) recognized these differences but included both taxa within a relatively broad species concept, emphasizing their copious production of long hairs in the flower areoles and other features.

D. F. Austin (1984) reported that the range of Harrisia fragrans is restricted to a 0.5–1.5 kilometer strip in St. Lucie County, Florida, in the immediate vicinity of the original (type) locality. He noted that other populations identified as this taxon actually are “Cereus gracilis,” which is presumably H. simpsonii.

Harrisia fragrans is in the Center for Plant Conservation’s National Collection of Endangered Plants.

Lower Taxa

... more about "Harrisia fragrans"
Bruce D. Parfitt +  and Arthur C. Gibson +
Small ex Britton & Rose +
Fragrant prickly-apple +  and Caribbean applecactus +
Mostly remnants of oak-red bay scrub on dry sand dunes, usually with Opuntia +
Flowering May. +
small1932a +
Endemic +  and Conservation concern +
Cereus eriophorus var. fragrans +  and Cereus fragrans +
Harrisia fragrans +
Harrisia +
species +