Yucatan Climbing Cactus (Strophocactus testudo)

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Climbing cactus strophocactus testudo

Yucatan Climbing cactus (Strophocactus testudo)


The Strophocactus testudo is tropical climbing cactus found in southern Mexico down into Guatemala.  I took this picture when visiting the Mayan ruins of Kohunlich in the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico.  The plant in this picture is attached to a Cohune palm (Attalea cohune).

I have found a few references to this cactus being called “Wrap Around Cactus”, because of the way it wraps around a tree.  This type of cactus is very tolerant of the high humidity and wet condition of the tropics. It generally grows near water or in areas prone to flooding.  Other verities of the climbing cactus family of Strophocactus can found all the way down into the Amazon rain forest.

Very little information is available about this exact variety of Strophocactus, due to the fact that no other similar photographs exist and many plant experts are not sure that this particular cactus in this picture is actually a Strophocactus testudo.  It may be a totally new variety



Here are some additional resources that you may be interested in.

Animals and Plants of the Ancient Maya

Lonely Planet Mexico (Travel Guide)

Animals and Plants of the Ancient Maya

Additional photo of the Yucatan Climbing Cactus.

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