any of various plants of the genus Cereus, of the cactus family, having large, usually white, funnel-shaped flowers.
any of several related, similar plants, especially of the genera Hylocereus, Nyctocereus, and Selenicereus.
Historical Examples

any tropical American cactus of the genus Cereus, esp C. jamacaru of N Brazil, which grows to a height of 13 metres (40 feet)
any of several similar and related cacti, such as the night-blooming cereus

cactus genus, 1730, from Latin cereus “waxen, waxy,” from cera “wax” (see cere (n.)). So called from its shape, which suggests a candle.


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