Genus honouring Louis Vatrican (1904-2007), Monegasque, director of the Exotic Garden of Monaco from 1935 until 1969, and one of the founder members of the IOS (International Organization of Succulent Plants). See picture above, cJard. Ex. of Monaco/Jean-Marie Solichon.
A monotypic genus of columnar plants branching from the base, with erect stems reaching 5 m high and 10 cm in diameter, with numerous ribs (up to 27) weakly tuberculate. Areoles very close, woolly, spines relatively short (ca. 2 – 3 cm). When stems are mature, they develop a longitudinal dense cephalium consisting of spines and red wool, becoming grey with age.
Flowers nocturnal remaining open in the morning, self-sterile, appearing near the apex, widely bell-shaped, white yellowish, pale to intense pink, with the floral tube covered with numerous bristles and with pinkish wool, pollinated by bats. Fruits scaly, deeply sunken in the cephalium. Seeds roughly egg-shaped, dark brown, shiny, slightly tuberculate and striate, dispersal myrmecophilous.
The monotypic genus Vatricania is endemic to Bolivia, and grows on hills or in valleys, on rocky soils, forming true forests, among a shrubby vegetation, between 800 m and 2000 m in altitude, together with other cacti.
Bolivia (Chuquisaca, Cochabamba, Santa Cruz).
Currently only one recognized species:
– Vatricania guentheri* (Kupper) Backeberg 1950