≪Weberbauer’s cereus≫, genus honouring August Weberbauer (1871-1948), German botanist who was director of the botanical and zoological gardens of Lima (see picture above, public domain). • DESCRIPTION
A genus of shrubby, columnar to treelike plants, branching from or near the base, sometimes with a well defined trunk. Branches erect or curved, sometimes intermingled, ribs variable in number (8-25), areoles close-set, large, woolly, whitish to grey or yellowish. Radial spines numerous (20-60), setose to aciculate; central spines, when present, sturdy.
Flowers nocturnal, self-sterile, remaining open in the morning, appearing near the apex, tubular to funnel-shaped, roughly zygomorphic, with a floral tube more or less S-shaped, whitish, brownish or reddish, with pericarpel covered with scales and with hairs, pollinated by bats (Glossophaga soricina, Platalina genovensium) or by hummingbirds (Patagona gigas, Rhodopis vesper), also bees. In Peru, the flowering of Weberbauerocereus weberbaueri is nocturnal (but still open in the morning), and the pollination is mainly done by bats, also by hummingbirds in conditions of extreme aridity (Sahley 1996), which is a clear example of a pollination syndrome both diurnal and nocturnal in South America. Fruits rather small, yellow orange-coloured to greenish or reddish, somewhat hairy, with a white pulp, floral remains persistent. Seeds rather small, numerous, black, shiny. Seed dispersal ensured by bats (chiropterochory) to a small extent and inefficient because of only the few colonies of bats that exist. • HABITAT
The genus Weberbauerocereus grows usually in high valleys, on north facing slopes often covered with humid fogs, on rocky reliefs, among a shrubby vegetation or among rocks, from 540 m up to 3500 m in altitude, sometimes together with other columnar cacti (Armatocereus, Browningia). The only Bolivian species, recently described (2010) W. madidiensis, is restricted to the tropical dry forests in the Yungas sub-Andean region. • DISTRIBUTION
Bolivia (La Paz), Peru (Ancash, Arequipa, Cajamarca, Cuzco, Huancavelica, lea, La Libertad, Lima, Moquegua).
Genus honouring Louis Vatrican (1904-2007), Monegasque, director of the Exotic Garden of Monaco from 1935 until 1969, and one of the founder members of the IOS (International Organization of Succulent Plants). See picture above, cJard. Ex. of Monaco/Jean-Marie Solichon. • DESCRIPTION
A monotypic genus of columnar plants branching from the base, with erect stems reaching 5 m high and 10 cm in diameter, with numerous ribs (up to 27) weakly tuberculate. Areoles very close, woolly, spines relatively short (ca. 2 – 3 cm). When stems are mature, they develop a longitudinal dense cephalium consisting of spines and red wool, becoming grey with age.
Flowers nocturnal remaining open in the morning, self-sterile, appearing near the apex, widely bell-shaped, white yellowish, pale to intense pink, with the floral tube covered with numerous bristles and with pinkish wool, pollinated by bats. Fruits scaly, deeply sunken in the cephalium. Seeds roughly egg-shaped, dark brown, shiny, slightly tuberculate and striate, dispersal myrmecophilous. • HABITAT
The monotypic genus Vatricania is endemic to Bolivia, and grows on hills or in valleys, on rocky soils, forming true forests, among a shrubby vegetation, between 800 m and 2000 m in altitude, together with other cacti. • DISTRIBUTION
Bolivia (Chuquisaca, Cochabamba, Santa Cruz).
Currently only one recognized species:
– Vatricania guentheri* (Kupper) Backeberg 1950
Genus honouring Werner Uebelmann (1921-2014), Swiss nursery gardener and prospector of cacti, especially in Brazil, but also in Paraguay and Uruguay (see picture above, ccourtesy Thomas Uebelmann). • DESCRIPTION
A genus of usually solitary plants, rather small, globose to cylindrical (exceptionally up to 1.5 m high), with the epidermis smooth, papillose or waxy, with many ribs sharply defined or tuberculate. Areoles very close, spines fragile and breakable, becoming loose rather easily, sometimes pectinate (U. pectinifera).
Flowers diurnal, self sterile, apical or subapical, funnel-shaped, rather small (max. 2.5cm in diameter), yellow, with the pericarpel areoles densely pubescent or woolly, sometimes with bristles or spines, pollinated by bees (pers. obs. 1986). Fruits elongated, like berries, red or yellowish green, dry and dehiscent when ripe. Seeds egg-shaped to spoonshaped (cochleariform), rough to warty, black. Supposed myrmecophilous (by ants) dispersal. • HABITAT
The genus Uebelmannia is endemic to Minas Gerais in Brazil, and grows in the mountains of Minas Gerais, on gentle slopes, or highlands, on acid soils, mostly in almost pure white quartz sand, accompanied by plant debris, or in crevices of granite rocks, between 650 m and 1460 m in altitude, together with other cacti (Pilosocereus, Cipocereus), grasses, Velloziaceae, Portulacaceae, orchids and terrestrial bromeliads. The atmospheric humidity is high and the diurnal temperature may hardly reach +13°C in winter. The soil is moderately moist, due to nocturnal mists that rise in the late morning. • DISTRIBUTION
Brazil (Minas Gerais).
≪Top Fruit≫, referring to the characteristic inverted cone or top-shaped fruit of the species in this genus. • DESCRIPTION
A genus of very small plants, globose flattened to elongated, neotenic, usually solitary, but some may produce clusters. Ribs absent, divided into low tubercles, rounded to conical or deltoid. Areoles situated at the end of tubercles, often woolly, white, axils shallow. Spines usually few, flexible, slightly sharp or not at all.
Flowers diurnal, self-sterile, appearing at the apex of stems, funnel-shaped, usually white to creamy white, yellowish, pinkish to magenta or purple, pollinated by insects, usually bees and flies. Fruits like berries, top-shaped, with variable dehiscence according to species. Seeds rough to granular, tuberculate, black, with a large hilum. • HABITAT
The genus Turbinicarpus is endemic to Mexico, and grows very mimetically, among grasses, bushes and shrubs, often almost completely buried, on small hills or in mountains, on various rocky or gravelly soils, usually limestone, also clayey (T. polaskii), granite (T. swobodae), gypsum (T. hoferi), humus (T. pseudomacrochele), or even on dry salt lakes (T. Iophophoroides), on shale cliffs (T. alonsoi), always in small localized colonies, in crevices and cracks of rocks where pockets of humus are found, between 800 m and 2600 m in altitude. Populations exhibit an extreme geographic variability. • DISTRIBUTION
Mexico (Coahuila, Guanajuato, Hidalgo, Nuevo Leon, Queretaro, San Luis Potosi, Tamaulipas, Zacatecas).
“Hairy Cereus” referring to the character of the floral tube, which is hairy in this genus. • DESCRIPTION
A genus of shrubby to treelike plants, creeping, decumbent to erect (some rare species are pendulous) or massive columnar, reaching up to 15 m high. Ribs straight, with areoles close-set, covered with wool, with usually distinct radial and central spines, variable in size and thickness, finely aciculate to strongly subulate, according to species.
Flowers nocturnal or diurnal, large, funnel-shaped and widely open, with long and sturdy floral tube, fleshy, scaly, more or less densely covered with dark brown (rarely white) hairs borne at the axil of scales, with greenish, pinkish or reddish outer tepals and white, yellow, red, or purple pink inner tepals, with numerous stamens and with pistil stigmas elongated and also numerous, pollinated, according to species, by bees (Apis mellifera, Arhysosage ochracea, Augochloropsis sp., Bombus opifex, Brachyglossula ancasti, B. communis, B. martinezi, Caenohalictus sp., Centris nigerrima, Lasioglossum sp., Megachile saulcyi, Ptilothrix tricolor, Trichoturgus sp., Trigona spinipes, Xylocopa grisescens, X. ordinaria, X. splendidula), wasps (Allosclrtetica lanosa, Polybia ruficeps), flies (Copestylum concinna), beetles (Arctodium vulpinus, Lichnia gallardoi), hummingbirds (Adelomyia melanogenys, Heliomaster squamosus, Patagona gigas, Rhodopis vesper) during the day; or Sphingideae (Manduca diffissa) and bats (Glossophaga soricina, Lonchophylla mordax) at night. Fruits thick-walled, globose greenish to reddish, with hairs but without spines, pulp white, longitudinally dehiscent, not always retaining the remains of the dried perianth. Seeds rather small, globose to elongated, numerous, dark brown to black, pitted or foveolate, dispersal essentially myrmecophilous (Solenopsis sp.), also ornithophilous (Mimus thenca) and chiropterophilous (Glossophaga soricina). • HABITAT
The genus Trichocereus has a very wide distribution area, and grows on various substrates, usually grassy and rocky or sandy, ferruginous soils, in deserts, in mountains of the Andes, on rocky hillsides, on dry plains, drainage areas, canyons, sometimes clinging on cliff faces, or even living on saline soils, among bushes and xerophytic spiny shrubs, from 25 m (T. chiiensis subsp. litoralis) up to 4300 m in altitude, where some species withstand snow and frost. • DISTRIBUTION
Argentina (Buenos Aires, Catamarca, Cordoba, Jujuy, La Pampa, La Rioja, Mendoza, Salta, San Juan, San Luis, Santiago del Estero, Tucuman), Bolivia (Chuquisaca, Cochabamba, La Paz, Oruro, Potosi, Santa Cruz, Tarija), Chile (Antofagasta, Atacama, Coquimbo, Santiago, Valparaiso), Ecuador (Azuay, Loja), Paraguay (Concepcion), Peru (Ancash, Arequipa, Cuzco, Lima, Moquegua, Piura, Tacna).