What species of cactus is this (seen in the image above, left), what are the names of the fruits, and are they edible?
The Peruvian apple cactus is known as Cereus repandus. As you undoubtedly inferred from the name, it is a species native to South America. With the exception of when we have a frost or ice, it thrives in our location. Temperatures below freezing cause harm to the growing tips, necessitating pruning. This plant can grow pretty large in perfect conditions that are protected from cold weather. The fruit are edible, and as they ripen and fall to the ground, animals including birds, insects, and desert tortoises may eat them.
What flavor is Peruvian apple cactus?
The Peruvian Apple Cactus is a columnar cactus with sluggish growth that can grow up to 15 meters tall and has numerous branching arms. It is a deeply twisted gray-green cactus with few, coarse spines covering its comparatively smooth exterior. The fruit of the Peruvian Apple cactus resembles dragon fruit in appearance, but it is totally smooth and spherical and lacks the leafy scale-like structure. When fully mature, its magenta-red exterior will break open to reveal a white creamy inside studded with small black seeds like kiwi seeds. The fruits have a texture comparable to shaved ice: they are crisp and juicy, have a mild acidity, and have a flowery sweetness like sugarcane.
Are apple cacti from Peru poisonous?
The thick, apple-like red fruit of the Peruvian apple cactus, a native of South America, is where it derives its popular name. Column cactus, Queen of the Night, and apple cactus are some of its other names.
Non-toxic; nevertheless, please be mindful of spines when used near animals or young children.
PLEASE NOTE: As with all living things, each one varies somewhat, so they won’t all exactly resemble the picture or be in bloom when you buy them.
Are apples from Peru edible?
- Average soil moisture requirements; water frequently but not excessively; allow the soil to dry out in between waterings.
- High level of tolerance for both humidity and drought.
- Scale, snails, slugs, and mealybugs are pests and diseases.
- Easy to grow and minimal maintenance growing conditions.
- The stems of this cactus can grow up to 4 to 8 inches in diameter and range in color from grayish-green to bluish. It has 23 gorgeous flowers that range in color from rose/mauve to white, are aromatic, bloom from late spring to early fall, and are nocturnal. The blooms should not be missed because they only bloom for one night. The fruits, sometimes known as pitayas or Peruvian apples, are thornless and have a violet-reddish exterior. The interior, which is edible, is white and has crunchy seeds. Naturally, this cactus/succulent has horns, prickles, and/or spikes; handle with utmost care.
- seedlings, softwood or woody stem cuttings, or via seed (cut surface should be allowed to callous over before planting).
- Animal life: Attractive to butterflies, birds, and bees. Fruit is popular with birds.
- Facts: They include a lot of fiber, vitamin C, and beta-carotene. They bloom at night, so unless you have a lot of night pollinators like bats and moths, you might have to self-pollinate to get fruit.
- Designer Considerations: This plant is ideal for xeriscaping and can be utilized as a blooming tree, hedge, or windbreak. It also works nicely for a patio plant in a 3 gallon or larger pot.
Cereus fruit appearance:
- The cereus fruit does not possess the same allure as its relative, the dragon fruit. But it tastes exactly as good (if not more so).
- The Cereus Peruvianus is an ovoid fruit with smooth, thornless skin that is orange-red in hue. When the fruit is ripe, the skin will change from blue-purple to orange-red.
- When the fruit is fully ripe, it also frequently splits.
- Some types will produce fruit that is pink or yellow in hue.
- Even on the same branch, the sizes vary greatly, but the majority can fit in your hand.
Cereus fruit taste:
- The Cereus Peruvianus tastes surprisingly good. Like shaved ice, the flesh is crisp and dissolving. Yes, it is quite difficult to believe. The melting crunchiness reminds me of a tasty candy.
- The fruit has a cool, luscious texture.
- The flesh’s interior is white and has a texture that resembles crystalline. A few tiny, delightfully crunchy black seeds are scattered throughout the white meat. The seeds’ crunch is reminiscent of kiwi fruit.
- It tastes sweet, like sugarcane.
- The flavors are extremely delicately tangy and fruity/floral.
- The outer skin can occasionally just fall off and is simple to pull off. Peel is not consumed.
Is San Pedro the same as the Peruvian apple cactus?
Sometimes learning what a plant isn’t the greatest method to understand how to recognize it. Here are some images of various cactus species that are frequently mistaken for San Pedro cacti, along with some tips on what to look for.
Cereus Repandus (Peruvian Apple)
One of the cacti that people most frequently confuse with San Pedro is the Peruvian Apple, and it’s understandable why. They are both fast-growing columnar species with a similar color, same areoles, and similar growth rates. You’ll see two things if you glance at the image to the right (or below if you’re on a mobile device):
Ribs: Compared to San Pedro ribs, ribs from Peruvian Apple Cactus are significantly flatter and skinnier. Additionally, when viewed from the top, this deepens the troughs/pockets between the ribs, making them in some plants almost as deep as the center of the plant.
Spines: Compared to San Pedro cactus, Peruvian Apple cactus spines are typically much longer. When compared to San Pedro cactus, each areole on a Peruvian Apple Cactus typically has one spine that is noticeably longer than the others.
Myrtillocactus Geometrizans (Blue Myrtle Cactus)
The columnar Blue Myrtle Cactus is a kind of cactus that is indigenous to northern and central Mexico. It can resemble San Pedro in appearance to the untrained eye, but there are some significant variances.
Blue spines Dark-black Myrtle Cactus spines have a dominating, very lengthy center spine.
Color: True to its name, the Blue Myrtle Cactus frequently has a vivid blue hue to its skin. San Pedro cactus can sometimes appear pale blue or grey, but it is much less overtly colored than Blue Myrtle.
Branches – The Blue Myrtle Cactus is a vigorous brancher, frequently “just a few years of growth are followed by pupping. Branches can grow up to halfway up the stem, and new branches can grow on top of existing ones to form a wild branch “a bushy appearance to the plant.
Pilosocereus Pachycladus (Blue Torch Cactus)
In the genus Pilosocereus, Pachycladus is the species that is most frequently farmed, however all of the species are together referred to as Blue Torch Cacti. These cacti are indigenous to South America’s Neotropics, with the majority of them being found in Brazil.
Spines: The spines of the blue myrtle cactus are pale in color, 5 to 10 mm long, and sufficiently dense to cover the spines from the areoles above and below it. A tufted hairy areole, which is a definite identifying characteristic, is present in several species of Blue Torch.
Color: The Blue Torch cactus is most easily recognized by its bright blue hue. It is clearly distinguished from the delicate blue-green of the San Pedro cactus because it is by far the most overtly blue of all the cacti species.
What determines if a cactus is edible?
Edible cacti and succulents are incredibly low-maintenance plants that taste great if your climate is right for them.
Some people want to know the distinction between succulents and cacti. A cactus is technically a succulent plant since the term refers to “one that has thick, fleshy, water-storing leaves or stems.” The term “cacti” is typically used to refer to succulent plants with spines, but all true cacti actually belong to the plant family Cactaceae.
Let’s discuss the numerous edible cacti and succulents that you can use in your landscaping:
All genuine cactus fruit is edible, but certain varieties have greater flavors than others. Some are excellent when cooked, and most must first have their spines peeled or otherwise removed before being consumed! Of course, everyone has varied tastes in stuff. In order to ensure that you enjoy them and are not allergic, it is advised to test a few of the cactus you are contemplating before purchasing.
Which edible cactus you select will depend on its intended purpose and the aesthetic of your edible landscaping. More than 200 Opuntia species, often known as Nopales, Nopalitos, the Cactus Pear, or the Paddle Cactus, contain a variety of delicious cacti.
All Opuntias have edible leaves and egg-shaped fruit (sometimes known as “tunas”). An Opuntia is recognized by its oval, flat, spine-covered leaves, or “paddles.”
Of all the edible cacti, Opuntia ficus-indica, also known as the prickly pear cactus, is the most well-known and popular. Its fruit and leaves, which are also known as the Indian Fig, are a mainstay in many recipes throughout Central America and the southwest of the United States. Australia, northern Africa, and the Galapagos Islands are just a few of the diverse areas this cactus has been introduced.
Opuntias are quite tolerant of the cold, and they can be found as far north as British Columbia. In some areas, they have also spread invasively. They can still be a gorgeous focal point in rock gardens or other drought-tolerant environments, and they have a wide range of functions in landscaping (they make great barrier hedges).
When fully grown, the saguaro (Carnegiea gigantea), the graceful representation of the desert in the southwest of the US, has edible fruit (which can take decades). The Saguaro, however, is hard to come by and cannot be moved without a permit.
Despite being smaller and with “arms” that often develop near the base of the plant rather than higher up the main stem, the Organ Pipe Cactus (Stenocereus thurberi) resembles the Saguaro. It has red Pitahaya Dulce fruit, which is roughly the size of a golf ball, and lavender flowers.
Visit the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument in Arizona (United States), which is home to many of these beautiful cacti, to observe them in their natural habitat.
Fruit from barrel cacti can be harvested and eaten raw, and because it lacks spines, it is simple to handle. Additionally edible are the buds and blooms. One of the American Wild West myths was that you could cut open a barrel cactus and squeeze the pulp for water to keep you alive in the harsh desert.
The Night-Blooming Cereus (Hylocereus undatus), a cactus with long fleshy leaves and bright red or yellow fruit with a white or crimson core and black, crunchy seeds with great nutritional content, is also known as the Dragon Fruit or Pitaya (and is also known as Pitahaya Dulce in some locations). The plant only blooms at night and has enormous, fragrant white flowers.
Some species, such Peniocereus greggii, are also referred to as “Night-Blooming Cereus.”
Although it appears very different from Hylocereus, the Peruvian Apple Cactus (Cereus repandus), which likewise produces sweet, vividly colored edible fruit, is another cactus that bears the name Pitaya.
The Epiphyllum species, sometimes known as the orchid cactus, are another genus of cacti that are edible. They resemble the Hylocereus species in appearance and behavior but have smaller fruits. All of these have gorgeous flowers!
Edible Succulent Plants
In northern Africa and India, vegetables made from a few of the Caralluma species—Caralluma fimbriata, Caralluma adscendens, and Caralluma edulis—are consumed.
Many Agave species can be rendered edible, but the most famous is Agave tequilana, which is used to make tequila.
All Sedum species, also known as stonecrops, can be eaten. They taste sour or spicy and are used in salads. Consume these in moderation; excessive consumption of some may result in dyspepsia.
Purslane is beneficial as a ground cover in wet locations, is simple to grow, rather attractive, and delicious when cooked.
Although purslane is regarded as a weed in the US, it tastes delicious fried and is ok in salads and works well in stews and soups.
Which cactus fruits are edible?
Opuntia, the prickly pear, is a remarkably adaptable food source. Both the fruit (tunas) and the pads (nopales) are edible, although care should be taken when gathering and preparing them.
What cactus can’t be eaten?
The majority of succulent cacti include some acidic substances that are challenging for the human liver to break down. Some kinds of this succulent contain alkaloids in its thick flesh, which can result in unpleasant symptoms like nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and even paralysis.
While some cactus plants can be eaten, others are dangerous and should not be consumed. The following three varieties of cactus should not be consumed:
Scientifically known as Lophophora williamsii, peyote cactus is a hazardous kind of cactus that should not be consumed. It is a cactus plant without spines that contains the hallucinogenic chemical mescaline.
When ingested, the substance mescaline induces psychotic symptoms. Peyote poisoning frequently causes hallucinations, agitation, nausea, and vomiting. Peyote cactus overdoses can be lethal in rare circumstances.
J.D. Slothower of the Encyclopedia of Toxicology (2014) states that after 34 hours, mescaline “produces an acute psychotic condition…
A dose of about 300–500 mg causes depersonalization, illusions, anxiety and depression symptoms, as well as visual and sporadically olfactory or aural hallucinations.
Its physiological effects include trembling, sweating, and nausea.
San Pedro Cactus
When consumed, the San Pedro Cactus, a native of the Andes Mountains, can have similar psychedelic effects to Peyote Cactus. This is due to the substance’s inclusion of the hazardous hallucinogenic chemical mescaline.
Palpitations, stomachaches, tremors, and hallucinations are typical adverse reactions to San Pedro Cactus use.
Bolivian Torch Cactus
The Bolivian Torch Cactus, also known as Echinopsis lageniformis, is a type of cactus that is poisonous and has psychedelic side effects. It is not edible. When consumed, this plant’s high mescaline content causes visual and auditory hallucinations.
It’s time to appreciate the nutritional benefits of this plant now that you are aware of which cactus species are edible and which precise sections you may consume. Eating cactus fruits, nopales, seeds, and flowers can improve digestion, lower cholesterol, speed up weight reduction, and reduce inflammation, among other health advantages.
All of these health advantages are made possible by the substances and minerals found in cactus. Vitamins, amino acids, and phytonutrients are a few of these.