“Crowned cereus”, referring to the characteristic annular cephalium of the unique species in this genus.
A monotypic genus of columnar plants, mostly solitary, rarely branched, reaching 2-5m high, with st;ems irregularly segmented according to new growth, bluish green, 13-18 straight ribs. Areoles close-set, strongly woolly, provided with 20 very short and white radial spines, and 1-2 longer and more stiff central spines, golden yellow. Annular cephalium densely woolly and hairy.
Flowers nocturnal, (self-fertile? pers. obs.) tubular to bell-shaped, appearing laterally, as well on the terminal cephalium as on former ones, creamy-white, pollinated by bats, also by hymenoptera. Fruits elongated, thick-walled, becoming bluish covered with wax when ripe, with white or red pulp. Seeds warty, black, dull, retaining an envelope of mucilage. Seed dispersal ensured by bats and ants.
The monotypic genus Stephanocereus grows endemically in Brazil, between 270 m and 750 m in altitude, on variable soils, blocks of rocks, in crevices, on rocky outcrops, on quartz sands, among grasses and bushes, also in the caatinga, among the bushes where it emerges.
Currently only one recognised species:
– Stephanocereus leucostele* (Guerke) Berger 1926