Skip to Main Content
Plants of the UNF Campus

Pereskia grandifolia - Rose cactus
Family Cactaceae


About sixteen hundred species of cactus are native to North America and South America. It has been reported that one species of cactus was native to Madagascar but this has been disputed. About twenty species of Pereskia are native to the Caribbean, Central America, and South America. Unusual among cactus, Pereskia species have an abundance of leaves and several species are forest-dwellers. Scientists believe that the original cacti were similar to Pereskia in this regard and that other cacti lost their leaves as an adaptation to epiphytic and dry conditions. The rose cactus is native to Brazil. It is a shrubby plant to a maxium of about twenty feet tall. Typical clusters of cactus spines dot the stems. Flowers are large, pink, and similar in appearance to a rose. 


See this plant on the south side of building 1.


A shrubby plant with the potential to reach twenty feet tall.

Care Instructions:

Light: part shade

Water: moist but not soggy

Soil: a moist but well-drained soil, no other special requirements

In Jacksonville, the cold hardiness of the rose cactus is not documented. This plant was a gift to the University by local plant collector, Joyce Jarrell. It survived one winter outdoors with temperatures in the upper twenties F. This plant is located in a protected courtyard on the south side of a building.


Cold hardiness in plants depends on several different variables and can vary somewhat from one region to another. One report states that leaves drop when temperatures fall below 50 degrees F. In October 2006, the leaves did not drop on the UNF plant after two successive nights around 40 F.