Herbs & Plants

Epiphyllum xypetalum

Botanical Name: Epiphyllum xypetalum
Family: Cactaceae
Subfamily: Cactoideae
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Caryophyllales
Genus: Epiphyllum
Species: E. oxypetalum

*Cactus oxypetalus Moc. & Sessé ex DC.
*Cereus latifrons Zucc.
*Cereus oxypetalus DC.
*Epiphyllum acuminatum K.Schum.
*Epiphyllum grande (Lem.) Britton & Rose

Common Names: Dutchman’s pipe cactus or Queen/princess of the nigh
Orchid cactus, Jungle cactus, Night blooming cereus, Dutchman’s Pipe • Hindi: Nishagandhi • Marathi: Brahma kamal • Urdu: Gul-e bakawali • Mizo: Bethlehempar

Vernacular Names:
In India, it is called Iruludavare in Kannada, meaning ‘night lotus’. Brahma Kamalam in Sanskrit, named after the Hindu god of creation, Lord Brahma. It is believed that the wishes of people who pray to God while the flower is blooming will be fulfilled. Also it is called Gulebakavali in Ancient Tamil. It is called Kadupul flower in Sri Lanka (Sri Lanka’s native blossom)

The Chinese chengyu (four character idiom) use this flower to describe someone who has an impressive but very brief moment of glory, like a “flash in a pan,” since an Epiphyllum oxypetalum plant might bloom only once a year over a few days. Therefore, someone described as is generally understood to be a person who shows off or unexpectedly gains some achievement and is thought to be an exception or only lucky. The flower also has a rich history in Japan, where it is known as the (Gekka Bijin) or “Beauty under the Moon”. In Sri Lanka it is called “Kadupul” which means the flower from heaven. In Indonesia it is called “Wijaya Kusuma” which means “Flower of Triumph”.

Habitat: Epiphyllum oxypetalum is native to Southern Mexico and to extensive areas of South America. It is widely cultivated, escapes from cultivation in tropical areas especially in the southeast Asia, and has become naturalised in China.

Epiphyllum xypetalum is a shrub growing on trees, freely branched, 2-6 m tall, with aerial roots. Old stems and basal extension shoots round, to 2 m or more, woody; branches numerous, dark green, laterally flattened, leaflike, lanceshaped to oblong-lanceshaped, 15-100 × 5-12 cm, hairless, base wedge-shaped, narrowed, or stalked, margin wavy to deeply rounded toothed, tip pointed to tapering; midrib 2-6 mm wide, stout. Areoles small, spineless.

The flower blooms at night, since the flowers are predominantly pollinated by bats and large moths. They have large white star-like flowers to help their pollinators locate the blossoms by moon or star light, and many have very lovely fragrances. Pure white flowers, the size of a dinner plate, open as soon as the sun goes down and stay open all night, closing in the morning.


Flowers nocturnal, fragrant, funnel-shaped, 25-30 × 10-27 cm. Receptacle tube 13-18 cm, base green, 4-9 mm in diameter, slightly angled, with triangular to lanceshaped scales 3-10 mm. Sepaloids often recurved, pale green or pinkish red, linear to inverted-lanceshaped. Petaloids white, inverted-lanceshaped to obovate, 7-10 × 3-4.5 cm. Filaments white, 2.5-5 mm; anthers cream, 3-3.5 mm. Style white, 20-22 cm; stigmas 15-20, cream, narrowly linear, 1.6-1.8 mm. Fruit rare, purplish red, oblong, about 16 × 5.7 cm. Seed 2-2.5 × about 1.5 mm. Fl. Jun-Oct.

Epiphyllum oxypetalum is an easily cultivated, fast growing Epiphyllum. It flowers in late spring through late summer; large specimens can produce several crops of flowers in one season. This is the most commonly grown of the Epiphyllum species.

it usually takes at least three years before you will begin to get flowers. A cutting takes time to grow new branches. Buds will appear in the notches (areoles) along the branches. A plant that is already rooted and growing will usually bloom in less than three years.

Edible Uses:
The fruit of Epiphyllum oxypetalum is edible, very similar to the pitaya fruit from the closely related genus Hylocereus, though not so large, being only 3–4 cm long.

Medicinal Uses:
The indigenous peoples of America have used the night blooming cereus as a topical remedy for rheumatism and itchy rashes, as well as an internal herbal remedy for worms, cystitis and fever.

The Native American tribe Death Valley Shoshone called this plant “pain in the heart”, and used it to treat angina-like pains. Several other tribes of Native Americans use the stem to treat diabetes.

Epiphyllum oxypetalum is used in homeopathy and recommended for urinary tract infections, for heart conditions such as the crushing pain of angina and for spasmodic pain and haemorrhage.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.


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