Back to Biodiversity Explorer main pageGo to Iziko Museums of Cape Town home pageAbout Biodiversity Explorer - history, goals, etc.Send us your questions about southern African biodiversityPeople who have contributed content and images.Search Biodiversity Explorer

Cereus jamacaru (Queen of the night)

Life > eukaryotes > Archaeoplastida > Chloroplastida > Charophyta > Streptophytina > Plantae (land plants) > Tracheophyta (vascular plants) > Euphyllophyta > Lignophyta (woody plants) > Spermatophyta (seed plants) > Angiospermae (flowering plants) > Core Eudicots > Order: Caryophyllales > Family: Cactaceae > Genus: Cereus

Native to South America. Naturalised in southern Africa (in bushveld of Limpopo, Mpumalanga, Gauteng and North-West). It is a declared Category 1 invader plant in South Africa.  Locally referred to incorrectly as Cereus peruvianus. Two biological control agents, a stem sucking mealiebug and a stem boring beetle, have brought this weed completely under control in South Africa (Klein 2011).

Ecological interactions in southern Africa


  • Hypogeococcus pungens (Hemiptera: Pseudococcidae). This is a stem sucking mealiebug that was released in South Africa in 1983 against Harrisia martinii. It also feeds on Cereus jamacaru, causing extensive damage (Klein 2011).
  • Nealcidion cereicola (Coleoptera: Cerambycidae). This stem boring beetle was originally released in South Africa in 1990 against Harrisia martinii but it also feeds on Cereus jamacaru, causing considerable damage (Klein 2011).


  • Klein H. 2011. A catalogue of the insects, mites and pathogens that have been used or rejected, or are under consideration, for the biological control of invasive alien plants in South Africa. African Entomology 19(2): 515-549.

Text by Hamish Robertson

Contact us if you can contribute information or images to improve this page.

Biodiversity Explorer home   Iziko home   Search