Disocactus phyllanthoides used extensively in hybridising

Epiphyllums are epiphytes and their natural habitat is in the jungles of Central and South America where they receive their nourishment from the deposits of dead vegetation lodged in the bark of trees. The main root anchors itself to the branches of the jungle trees while the fibrous roots search out for nourishment and moisture in this warm and very humid environment. Their jungle companions are bromeliads, orchids, mosses and ferns.

Most of the true species bloom at night since they are mainly pollinated by bats and large moths. They have large flowers to help their pollinators locate the blossoms by moon or star light, and many have very lovely fragrances. There is a growing interest in species both for their natural beauty and in the case of rarer species, for the opportunity to contribute to their conservation.

Many large and colorful hybrids have been created over the years. Often known as jungle cacti, orchid cacti, epies and rainforest cacti, they come in a wide array of colors which have been attained through intergeneric hybridization with cacti from the Aporophyllum, Heliocereus, and Nopalxochia genera. Nopalxochia now being known as disocactus.These day-blooming cacti have passed their wide array of yellows, pinks, reds and oranges to their hybrid offspring and in many cases have also imparted the day-blooming characteristic or increased the longevity of the blossoms so that they may last several days.

The flowers range in size, some being quite small and dainty less than 7cm across, the largest blossoms can reach 30cm across. The flowers come in all the colours of the rainbow except black and blue.

Disocactus macranthus is in the background of many of the free flowering off season bloomers. Although beautifully fragrant, this fragrance doesn't always come through into the first generation offspring.