MITROCEREUS

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Autor: (Backeberg) Backeberg

• ETYMOLOGY
≪Cereus with a mitre≫, because the genus has an apical pseudocephalium resembling a mitre or bishop’s cap.
• DESCRIPTION
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.
• HABITAT
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.
• DISTRIBUTION
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

References: "TAXONOMY of the CACTACEAE" -  ISBN 978-84-617-3692-8 (Vol. 2)

 

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