Genus honouring Karl Friedrich (Carlos) Reiche (1860-1929), German botanist specializing in the Chilean.
A genus of small low growing, solitary plants, or sometimes branched usually when the apex has been damaged, with cylindrical stems, depressed at the apex, strongly constricted at the level of the tuberous root (R. bonnieae), which is a true geophytic. Indeed, the stem may disappear during the dry season, as in Pterocactus. Ribs low, numerous (24 – 40), but poorly defined. Areoles elongated, situated on tiny tubercles, with very short hairs and bearing tiny soft, pectinate spines.
Flowers diurnal, self-sterile, appearing laterally, shortly tubular to bell-shaped, floral tube covered with woolly hairs, pale silvery yellow to yellow-orange, with brownish tepals, pollinated by insects. Fruits egg-shaped and elongated, covered with hairy scales, purplish, with longitudinal dehiscence, floral remains persistent. Seeds black, subglobose to elongated, warty, numerous (up to 400 per fruit), retaining the remnants of mucilage.
The genus Reicheocactus grows endemically in northwestern Argentina, from 1200 m up to 3050 m in altitude, usually among rocks, in full sun. One of the two species which compose the genus, R. bonniae, is a true geophytic plant.
Argentina (Catamarca, San Juan).
Currently 2 recognised species:
– Reicheocactus bonnieae* (Halda, Hogan & Janeba) Schlumpberger 2012
– Reicheocactus pseudoreicheanus* Backeberg 1942 (= Lobivia famatimensis)