During a trek through a small forest-type area on the main island of Hawaii, I came across the following plant:


It did not cover very much area from what I could tell (there was a continuation of the bed just behind me from where I took the picture). I believe it was near Punalu'u Beach but I can't say with certainty.

It's creepy, looks like a tractor load of snakes got loose, and something I find fascinating. Could someone tell me what this cactus-y, bed of vines-like plant is?

  • $\begingroup$ I don't know what plant this is (a closer picture would help) but I was surprised on a recent trip to Maui by the large number of large cactus invasions. Mostly central american jungle species, but some prickly pears too. Really unfortunate. Don't get me wrong, I like cactus, they just don't belong in Hawaii, in my opinion. $\endgroup$
    – Tim Nevins
    Nov 7, 2017 at 18:03

1 Answer 1


It's creepy ... something I find fascinating.

Creepy & fascinating indeed!

Could someone tell me what this cactus-y, bed of vines-like plant is?

This is a cactus, and I believe it belongs to the genus Hylocereus, possibly the species H. undatus.

enter image description here

As for distribution, Hylocereus are quite prevalent throughout Hawaii, and can also be found scattered throughout the globe.

enter image description here Hawaii is the leftmost blue dot. image source

More information about this plant can be found here.


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