Etymology - The generic name honors the Jamaican botanist, William Harris.
A few of the twenty-some species in the genus Harrisia are found in cultivation and often grown as landscape plants in warmer climates where they can clamor and sprawl freely. Stems of this species are typically thin and few-ribbed; areoles with several needle-like spines are spaced enough to make the stems easily visible. All species have large nocturnal, white flowers which are fragrant. Floral tubes have bristles or wool and the fruits are round yellow or red fleshy spheres. The fruits are a useful identification key.
Wild populations of this genus can be found from Florida in the United States, through the Caribbean islands and down into South America along the east half of the continent as far south as Argentina. As mentioned above, most species are not well-known in cultivation, presumably because of their unwieldy growth habit. One species H. jusbertii is found in collections and is believed to be an inter-generic hybrid of H. pomanensis and Echinopsis eyriesii. In Florida, this genus is seldom seen in the wild as they inhabit islands and remote places where vegetation is extremely dense and inaccessible.