Autor: (Backeberg) Backeberg
≪Cereus with a mitre≫, because the genus has an apical pseudocephalium resembling a mitre or bishop’s cap.
A genus of erect, massive, columnar plants, reaching more than 12 m high, branched, with a massive trunk. Epidermis greyish-green, with well marked and deep ribs, with naked areoles, except the flower-bearing ones, which are woolly. Central spines 3, the lower sturdier; approximately 12 thinner radial spines. Pseudocephalium apical, strongly woolly on the reproductive stems. Flowers nocturnal, self-sterile, appearing in the apical woolly mass of the pseudocephalium, funnel-shaped, creamy white, with floral tube bearing imbricated scales and long bristles dark yellow, pollinated by bats (Choeronycteris mexicana, Leptonycteris curasoae, L. nivalis). Fruits globose, apically dehiscent, with a white pulp, covered with wool and with bristles. Seeds large, dark brown, shiny, dispersal mainly ornithophilous.
The monotypic genus Mitrocereus grows in a restricted area, but in abundance, in barrancas, on the slopes of limestone hills, between 1700 m and 2130 m in altitude, sympatric with Neobuxbaumia tetetzo, in deciduous tropical forests, where its size surpasses the rest of the vegetation. It also grows together with Coryphantha, Echinocactus, Ferocactus and Mammiilaria.
Mexico (Puebla, also reported by Bravo in Oaxaca, and actually found south of the Valley of Tehuacan-Cuicatlan, in the northwest of this state).
Currently only one recognised species:
– Mitrocereus fulviceps* (Weber ex Schumann) Backeberg ex Bravo 1954