Genus honouring Reid Moran (1916-2010), curator of the botanical garden of San Diego Natural History Museum (shown above) and Edward Gay (1915-1997), American collector.
Monotypic genus of pendulous plants, with very long cylindrical stems (up to 4 m) strongly branched, bearing aerial roots. Ribs rounded and tuberculate. Spines spreading, becoming numerous at the base (sometimes more than 70).
Flowers diurnal, self-sterile, opening early in the morning, tubular funnel-shaped, with woolly and bristly areoles, appearing near the tip of stems, orange to pale red, pollinated by hymenoptera and hummingbirds, as well as a small species of beetle (Nitidulidae) which according to Leon de la Luz (2005), would be the main pollinator. Fruits spiny, elongated, reddish with red pulp, or greenish to yellowish with creamy-white pulp, with an average of 200 or more seeds; floral remains persistent. Seeds matt, tuberculate, black. Dispersal ensured by birds (ornithochory) and lizards (saurochory).
The monotypic genus Morangaya grows endemically in a small area south of the peninsula of the Baja California in Mexico, in mountains, in forests of pines and oaks, slightly in the shade, on blocks of granitic rocks and cliffs, in crevices with organic matter, between 800 m and 2000 m in altitude, together with Bursera species. Currently, only two known copulations are separated by about forty kilometres, but are locally more abundant where the altitude is more devated and the rainfall is higher.
Mexico (Baja California Sur).
Currently only one recognised species:
– Morangaya pensilis* (K.Brandegee) G.D.Rowley 1974