Autor: (Berger) Britton & Rose

≪Crested cereus≫, referring to the long bristly tufts of spines (pseudocephalium) of the former species described in this genus, that are found only on adult reproductive stems.
A genus of shrubby, columnar plants, without a trunk, densely branching from the base (L. schottii) or little branched (Ј. marginatus), with well marked ribs. Spines few, short and sturdy. Pseudocephalium terminal on the reproductive stems, very elongated, bearing numerous long flexible spines, somewhat arranged like a scrubbing brush in L. schottii, but only spinier and setose flower-bearing areoles in L. marginatus. L. schottii: flowers nocturnal, self-sterile, funnel-shaped, appearing laterally in the pseudocephalium, whitish to intense pink, with an unpleasant smell, bearing some hairs and scales, pollinated by a Pyralid moth (Upiga virescens). Fruits globose to egg-shaped, naked, intense red wth red pulp, splitting at the base, remains of the dried perianth persistent. Seeds large, finely reticulate, shiny, black. L. marginatus: flowers diurnal remaining open at night, tubular, setose, greenish-white, yellowish to pink, pollinated by hummingbirds (Amazilia violiceps, Cynanthus iatirostris and C. sordidus) during the day, and by bats (iChoeronycteris mexicana, Leptonycteris curasoae and L. nivalis) as well as Sphingideae during the night. Fruits globose, tuberculate, setose, red tinged with yellow, edible, with red, yellow or orange pulp. Seeds shiny, black.
The genus Lophocereus grows in the Sonora desert, on alluvial plains, dunes and coastal silt, at the foot of rocky hills, preferring flat areas and the lower slopes, or in rocky canyons, always in association with many cacti, bromeliads and other succulents, from sea level up to 600 m in altitude for L. schottii, and 2500 m in altitude for L. marginatus. There is a significant disjunction between species. L. marginatus is used by the local populations as quickset hedges.
Mexico (Baja California, Colima, Guanajuato, Guerrero, Hidalgo, Mexico D.F., Michoacan, Morelos, Oaxaca, Puebla, Queretaro, San Luis Potosi, Sinaloa, Sonora), USA (Arizona).

Currently 3 recognised species, one of which is doubtful and which could be of hybrid origin (L. gatesii):
– Lophocereus gatesii* M.E.Jones 1934
– Lophocereus marginatus* (DC.) S. Arias & Terrazas 2009 (ex Marginatocereus)
– Lophocereus schottii* (Engelm.) Britton & Rose 1909

References: "TAXONOMY of the CACTACEAE" -  ISBN 978-84-617-3723-9 (Vol. 1)


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