One of only two cactus genera native to the Galapagos, the scientific name of this species, is a reference to its attractive jasmine-like flowers (4). Jasminocereus thouarsii has a tree-like form, with a thick, columnar stem that usually separates into several branches. The stem is deeply ridged and bears clusters of long spines, with as many as 35 spines per cluster, which may be coloured white, yellow, reddish-brown or black (2). The flowers are striking, and comprise a long tube, ending in a whorl of white to olive-green petals. After pollination, the flowers die off, and are replaced by large, round or ovoid, fleshy fruits, which contain numerous black seeds (2) (4).
There are three varieties of Jasminocereus thouarsii, which may be distinguished by location, as well as by features such as fruit colour and flower size and texture. Jasminocereus thouarsii sclerocarpus has waxy textured flowers and greenish-red fruits; Jasminocereus thouarsii delicates has reddish-purple fruits and flowers that lack a waxy texture; and Jasminocereus thouarsii thouarsii has greenish fruits and also lacks waxy-textured flowers (2).
- Height: up to 7 metres (2)