STROPHOCACTUS

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Autor: Britton & Rose

• ETYMOLOGY
≪Wrapped cactus≫, referring to the way that plants of certain species in this genus (S. wittii, S. testudo) wrap themselves around trees.
• DESCRIPTION
A genus of epiphytic or epilithic plants, climbing or pendulous, polymorphic, one of them myrmecophilous (S. testudo), with angled or flattened, segmented stems, appressed against trunks, branches or rocks, with aerial roots. Areoles woolly, garnished with strong spines.
Flowers nocturnal, self-sterile, funnel-shaped, with a very long, scaly and hairy floral tube, with widely opened petals, pure white, strongly to unpleasantly fragrant, pollinated by Sphingideae (Barthlott et al. 1997). Fruits globose, spiny, yellow, greenish or red, pulp fragrant, retaining the remains of the dried perianth. Seeds oboval, light brown, smooth.
• HABITAT
The genus Strophocactus grows in hot and humid tropical zones, as an epiphytic, fixed by its roots to trees (Pachira aquatica) and mangroves (Rhizophora mangle), at water level, near rivers and streams, in easily flooded areas (S. wittii), or crawling on rocks (S. testudo), from sea level up to 1100 m in altitude.
• DISTRIBUTION
Belize, Brazil (Amazonas), Colombia (Guainia, Vaupes), Costa Rica (Guanacaste, Heredia, Limon), El Salvador, Guatemala (Alta Verapaz, Chiquimula, Huehuetenango, Izabal, Peten, Zacapa), Honduras (Atlantida, Cortes, Francisco Morazan), Mexico (Chiapas, Oaxaca, Quintana Roo, Tabasco, Veracruz, Yucatan), Nicaragua (Esteli), Panama, Peru (Loreto), Venezuela (Amazonas).

Currently 3 recognised species:
– Strophocactus chontalensis* R.Bauer 2003
– Strophocactus testudo* (Karw. ex Zucc.) R.Bauer 2003
– Strophocactus wittii (K. Schum.) Britton & Rose 1913

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

 

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