Latin Name: Myrtillocactus geometrizans (C.Mart.) Console
Common Name: Bilberry Cactus, Whortleberry Cactus or Blue Candle Cactus
Distribution: Central & Southern Mexico
Habitat: Stony and sandy soils in deciduous xerophytic tropical woodlands.
Description: A highly branched columnar candelabra like tree cactus. The individual stems are 6–10 cm diameter, with five (occasionally six) ribs, with areoles (bump where the spines grow from) spaced 15–30mm apart, 3-5 spines about 5-12mm long. In nature grows up to 4.5 m tall. Flowers – small & white 2-30mm, followed by small blue edible fruits 8-20mm, which look very like blueberries.
Propagation: By seed or cutting (allow the cut surface to dry out for 2-3 weeks before placing in an open rooting media).
Cultivation: Min temp of 10°C; Very free draining open compost; Sunny position; Water regularly during the growing season (Summer) allowing the compost to dry out between each application. Keep completely dry in winter.
Uses: Very sweet, edible fruit sold in Mexican markets; the flowers are also edible and are often boiled or fried.
Restrictions: CITES Appendix II Listed Plant
RBGE Data (May 2012):
- Accession number: 19801851
- Source: Berlin-Dahlem Botanic Garden
- Provenance: Wild collected in San Luis Potosí, Mexico by Beat Ernst Leuenberger & C. Schiers
- Location: Arid Lands House