“Candle of Cipo”, because the genus comes from Serra do Cipo in Minas Gerais, Brazil.
A genus of shrubby plants, shortly columnar, some species are branched with woody stems. Spines sometimes absent, areoles rounded, sometimes woolly. Number of ribs variable (4-21).
Flowers nocturnal, remaining open the next day, tubular, glaucous, white, pollinated by bats. Fruits globose to ovoid, blue, indehiscent, translucent watery pulp (main characteristic of the genus), and keeping the remains of the dried perianth. Seeds rough, cochleariform (spoon-shaped), black, embossed, strongly tuberculate, domed or conical. Seed dispersal takes places by birds and bats.
The genus Cipocereus grows endemically from 500 m up to 1500 m in altitude, in the mountains of Minas Gerais in Brazil, on rocky areas, and white quartz sand, in the shade of shrubs, where there is an accumulation of humus. Mists that form at these altitudes contribute to “water” the semi-arid zone, populated by other cacti, bromeliads and terrestrial orchids, as well as mosses and lichens.
Brazil (Minas Gerais).
Currently 5 recognised species + one subspecies:
– Cipocereus bradei (Backeb. & Voli) Zappi & N.p.Tayior 1991
– Cipocereus crassisepalus (Burning & Brederoo) N.p.Tayior & Zappi 1991
– Cipocereus laniflorus N.p.Tayior & Zappi 1997
– Cipocereus minensis* (Werderm.) F.Ritter 1979
– Cipocereus minensis subsp. leiocarpus N.p.Tayior & Zappi 2004
– Cipocereus pleurocarpus Ritter 1991