Night-Blooming Cereus
(Red pitaya)
(Hylocereus undatus)

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Invasive Status
Mildly Invasive Population stable
Natural Range
  • Mexico
  • Central America
  • Possibly South America
Introduced Range
  • Florida
  • Hawaii
  • Australia
  • South Africa


Aesthetic value


Offbalancing trees

Control Methods


The night-blooming cereus (Hylocereus undatus), also called the white-fleshed pitaya, red pitahaya, strawberry pear, belle of the night, or dragonfruit, amongst other local names, is an epiphytic cactus thought to be native to Central and South America.


Native RangeEdit

The original range of the night-blooming cereus is hard to determine, as this species has been grown horticulturally for many years and were thus introduced to many countries before population records began.*

It may be native only to just Central America(*/**) or both Central and northern South America(***/****).

It is generally believed to be native from southern Mexico to Costa Rica(*). Whether or not the native range extends south beyond there is disputed.

Introduced RangeEdit

North AmericaEdit

In North America, the night-blooming cereus has been introduced to east, south and central Florida,^ as well as the Hawaiian islands of Oah'u and Kaua'i.****

Central AmericaEdit

Due to the uncertain native range of the night-blooming cereus, it is hard to say where in Central America this species is not native. It may be introduced to Cuba.***


The night-blooming cereus has become established widely in eastern Australia.^^


Night-blooming cereus is in South Africa, where it has a status of NEMBA category 2.** It may also be present in Cape Verde.***

Pathways and IntroductionEdit

The night-blooming cereus is grown in many parts of the world for it's fruit. It is also grown ornamentally for its flowers which open at night.**

Also, birds are known to spread the seeds of this species.**

Night-blooming cereus was first brought to Hawaii in 1830.****


The weight of night-blooming cereus plants which have climbed up the trunk of a tree can result in a great imbalance to cause the tree to fall.^^

Control and Removal MethodsEdit

No control or removal methods are currently in place for this species due to its low invasive impact.


* IUCN Red List

** Invasive Species South Africa

*** Invasive Species Compendium

**** National (US) Tropical Botanical Garden

^ United States Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service

^^ Queensland Government Weeds of Australia Biosecurity Queensland Edition