Friday, June 17, 2022

Jungle Cactus! At the Los Angeles County Arboretum

Here we go—back to late November 2021 and my visit to the LA County Arboretum and Botanic Garden. I wish I could accurately convey the excitement I felt when I stumbled upon this jungle cactus display...

I've circled the area we're exploring in yellow below on the map...

I thought I was heading towards a pair of greenhouses and was completely unprepared for this seemingly random assemblage of rhipsalis and epiphyllum. It was like I had stumbled into a collectors back backyard, not part of a "proper" botanic garden.

Oh and I said "seemingly random" because I suspect to someone who can break the code it's not actually random at all...

When I mentioned my joy over exploring this part of the garden to a LA "epiphyte enthusiast" who I am connected to online, he credited "the local epiphyllum society" for doing a great job with the space.

I want to live somewhere that has an epiphyllum society!

So many jungle cactus!

I examined them all, trying to see how anyone could learn to differentiate between Clown 16, Clown 14, and Clown 11. What do those names even mean!?

Then I spied this beauty—Selenicereus chrysocardium. OMG! It was huge...

Maybe this image will give you a better idea of the scale.

Eventually I tore myself away from the outdoor display and made my way to the greenhouse marked "Carnivorous Plants/Epiphyllum Collection" on the map. This is what greeted me.

Dammit! Were the plants I'd just been drooling over usually inside the greenhouse? Were there other fabulous plants in there that I couldn't see? Ugh. I carried on...


Aristolochia gigantea, always exciting to cross paths with this freaky vine.

Up next, the Tropical Greenhouse, which was open!

Fun times! We'll resume our trek around the LA County Arboretum and Botanic Garden on Monday...

All material © 2009-2022 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.


  1. I can't remember seeing a display like that at the LA Arboretum but then I haven't been there in a few years. I do remember the Tropical Greenhouse, though. Sometimes it's hard for me to believe that the Arboretum and my local botanic garden are linked.

    1. As I recall I kinda walked off the beaten path (a reoccurring theme with me), and it was a little hidden away.

  2. AnonymousJune 18, 2022

    Last week I took a trip to Seattle's volunteer park. The epiphyllum in the greenhouse were massive and in full bloom. I though: if only Loree could see it. Made me want to grow one but none were offered in the gift shop.
    Selenicereus chrysocardium only looks like a fern... after reading a bit, I find out its a cactus... wow.

  3. Like Kris, I've never seen this display. So glad you stumbled upon it. I'll be at the LA County Arboretum in early August for the Intercity Show, and I'll look for it then!

  4. Too bad about the epiphyllum/carnivorous greenhouse though I bet a lot of those jungle cacti came from there. I love these guys too. My husband took me plant shopping for my birthday and was totally grossed out when I was wowed by a gorgeous specimen of the 'tapeworm' plant. Alas, he failed to see the beauty in it.

    1. Ha! My husband bought me one of those once, he thought it was so bizarre that I would love it.

  5. That is one happy Selenicereus chrysocardium... another plant to hunt down....

  6. I can imagine all of them hanging on tree branches instead, would have been even more fantastic

    1. Right? That's my SoCal dream for sure.

  7. One of the oaks in the Huntington Desert Garden has an enormous epi growing on it. It's up by the conservatory.

  8. AnonymousJune 20, 2022

    Loving it ! I have Epiphyllum idea what number mine is !

  9. That Dutchman's Pipe is GORGEOUS! Wish I had room for one, however, I do have a "mini-me" version: Aristolochia fimbriata


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