Both bloom at night, for a few hours only, and to make matters worse, the flowers do indeed resemble each other. In fact, it is easy to tell the difference between them. Hylocereus, with its stems and scalloped ribs often growing to a height of four and a half metres, bears a few short spines or bristles along its branches. The flower having faded, is followed by spherical to ovoid scaly red fruits, 10 centimetres across, and these contain kidney-shaped black seeds. Epiphyllum oxypetalum, on the other hand, is distinguished by its easily recognizable bud and stem; first hanging down perpendicularly for a length of perhaps 12 centimetres, the bud then turns upwards and, finally, horizontally – indeed, resembling the form of a “Dutchman’s pipe.” There are no bristles on the stems, and the flower, faded, hangs straight down and eventually withers away. I hope this helps readers distinguish between the two species.
Queen of the Night