“Articulated wax candle” because the first described species (the old type, C. microsphaericus, – Schlumbergera
microsphaerica) has segmented stems, but this Is not the case for the taxa of Arthrocereus.
A genus of solitary or low shrubby plants, with cylindrical stems, not segmented, erected or spreading. Areoles small, close-set, spines usually many and fine, bristle-like.
Flowers nocturnal, subapical with a long funnel-shaped floral tube, white, pinkish white to lilac pink, pollinated by moths (Sphingideae). Fruits spherical, indehiscent, floral remains persistent. Seeds egg-shaped, shiny, blackish brown. Dispersal provided by bats, other small terrestrial mammals and birds.
The genus Arthrocereus grows between 450 and 1500 m in altitude, in dry savannas and rocky areas, in the shade of shrubs or among grasses, sometimes on ferruginous soils, often near more or less temporary streams (pers. obs. 1986).
Brazil (Mato Grosso, Minas Gerais).
Currently 4 recognised species + 2 subspecies:
– Arthrocereus glaziovii* (K.Schum.) N.P.Taylor & Zappi 1991
– Arthrocereus melanurus (K.Schum.) Diers, P.J.Braun & Esteves 1987
– Arthrocereus melanurus subsp. magnus N.P.Taylor & Zappi 1997
– Arthrocereus melanurus subsp. estevesii (Diers & P.J.Braun) Braun & Esteves 1995
– Arthrocereus rondonianus* Backeb. & Voli 1935
– Arthrocereus spinosissimus* (Buining & Brederoo) F.Ritter 1979