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
Light: part shade
Water: moist but not soggy
Soil: a moist but well-drained soil, no other special requirements
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