Autor: (Berger) Britton & Rose
“Candle of the sun” referring to the flowers, which are diurnal.
Genus of bushy, epiphytic or saxicolous plants, with long prostrate or climbing stems; few ribs and spines, the latter can be setose to subulate, usually rather insignificant.
Flowers diurnal, self-sterile, solitary, large, lasting for several days, funnel-shaped, orange to purple red, rarely white, pollinated by hummingbirds. Fruits globose to egg-shaped, fleshy, spiny. Seeds brown-blackish, shiny, finely pitted, covered by mucilage.
The genus Heliocereus grows in savannas or mesophilous and ombrophilous rainforests consisting among others of oaks (Quercus sp.), in accumulations of humus, between rocks (epilithic or saxicolous), or on trees (epiphytic), between 1500 m and 2000 m in altitude.
El Salvador (La Libertad, Sonsonate), Guatemala (Quetzaltenango), Honduras, Mexico (Chiapas, Colima, Durango, Estado de Mexico, Guerrero, Jalisco, Michoacan, Morelos, Nayarit, Oaxaca, Sinaloa) Nicaragua (Jinotega).
Currently 4 recognised species:
– Heliocereus aurantiacus Kimnach 1974
– Heliocereus cinnabarinus (Eichlam ex Weing.) Britton & Rose 1920
– Heliocereus lodei (M.Veliz, L.Velasquez & R.Puente) M.Veliz 2015
– Heliocereus speciosus* (Cav.) Britton & Rose 1909
References: "TAXONOMY of the CACTACEAE" - ISBN 978-84-617-3723-9 (Vol. 1)