Wild Florida Photo
Nature Photography by Paul Rebmann
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FRAGRANT PRICKLY APPLE
INDIAN RIVER PRICKLY-APPLE
Synonym: Cereus eriophorus var. fragrans
Endemic to Florida
Endangered Florida species
U.S. Endangered species
This rare cactus was for some time only found in St. Lucie County, Florida, but it has just been recently rediscovered in Volusia County, although historically it ranged all along the east coast between these two counties. The habitat is scrubby flatwoods, xeric coastal hammocks and shell middens.
Harrisia fragrans has several common names, including Fragrant Prickly-apple, Indian River Prickly-apple, Caribbean Applecactus and Simpson's Applecactus. Fragrant prickly apple is an erect, sometimes branched or leaning, tree cactus 1-5 m (3-16 ft) tall, having slender cylindrical spiny stems with 10 or more ridges. Spines are grey with yellow tips, 2.5-4 cm (1 to 1-1/2 in) long, 9-13 per cluster, with one spine longer than the others. The showy, solitary flowers open at night, are 13-20 cm (5-8 in) long with a long scaly floral tube and numerous white petals, turning pink the next morning. Fruits are round, 5 cm (2 in) in diameter, green at first, turning red at maturity.