Pereskia Aculeata - Tree Cactus / Leaf Cactus
A native to the Caribbean and south America, Pereskia Aculeata is also known as ‘leaf cactus’, ‘lemonvine’, and the ‘Barbados gooseberry’. A popular shrub for its edible fruits and leaves, the leaf matter is high in protein and the fruits taste similar to the gooseberry.
The Pereskia looking like a clambering shrub, is actually a true cactus and can reach up to 10m tall when climbing trees, with vines up to 3cm thick. Leaves can reach up to 11cm long and range from lance to oval in shape. Stem spines are short and hooked when young, turning straight when older, usually clumped in threes or more. Leaves can be eaten raw in salads, or added to cooked dishes.
Pale yellow flowers can reach up to 5cm wide and have a strong scent. They tend to cover the shrub when blooming in summer. Fruits are fleshy and about 4cm in diameter, turning orange as they mature, and can be eaten raw or cooked, though they are often made into jams.
Attractive to bees!
Very hard to kill, this Pereskia enjoys full sun and well draining soils, and can tolerate light frosts for a very short time.
Keep dry in winter, when it will drop its leaves.
Frost tender, minimum recommended temperature 10°C.
Tends to lose leaves below 5°C.