A low, weak plant, although erect at first, a meter high or less, afterward elongating and arching; branches few, usually sharply 4-angled, 1 to 3 cm. broad, bluish white, the margins only slightly undulate; areoles 2 to 3 cm. apart, small, brown-felted; spines 2 to 6, acicular, brown, swollen at base, unequal, the longest 2 cm. long; flowers and fruit unknown.
Collected near Barrinha, Bahia, Brazil, by Rose and Russell, June 8, 1915 (No. 19808).
This is a very distinct and remarkable plant. In the shape and color of the branches it suggests some species of Hylocereus such as H. ocamponis, but it is a true terrestrial and never develops aerial roots. It is inconspicuous, growing in the bushy flats, and easily overlooked. Numerous cuttings were sent to the New York Botanical Garden by Dr. Rose, but only one of these lived, and this has not yet made any new growth. It may not be of this genus, for it does not resemble closely any of the described species.
Figure 187 is from a photograph taken by Paul G. Russell in 1915 at the type locality.
DESCRIBED SPECIES, PERHAPS OF THIS GENUS. Cereus tenellus Salm-Dyck in Pfeiffer, Enum. Cact. 109. 1837.
Suberect, slender, 8 to 12 mm. in diameter; ribs 4 or 5, thin, compressed; areoles 8 to 10 mm. apart; spines setiform, brown, short, 6 to 8 mm. long; flowers and fruit unknown.
Type locality: Brazil.
This species is not known to us from the incomplete description. Pfeiffer refers here as a synonym C. candelabrius (Enum. Cact. 109. 1837).
23. HELIOCEREUS (Berger) Britton and Rose, Contr. U. S. Nat. Herb. 12: 433. 1909.
Stems usually weak, procumbent or climbing over rocks and bushes, in cultivation often bushy and erect; branches strongly angled or ribbed; ribs or angles usually 3 or 4, sometimes up to 7; spines of all areoles similar; flowers diurnal, large, funnelform, only 1 at an areole, usually scarlet, sometimes white; tube short but definite; inner perianth-segments elongated; stamens numerous, declined; ovary spiny.
Type species: Cactus speciosus Cavanilles.
Heliocereus was considered a subsection of Cereus by Berger and, as stated by him, the species are closely related, the chief differences being in the flowers; they are all confined to Mexico and Central America. We recognize 5 species.
The plants are easily propagated by cuttings, but it has been our experience that they are among the most difficult cacti to grow under glass. It is said, however, if plants are grown out of doors during the summer, they make strong branches and flower abundantly during the winter. H. speciosus has been much used in hybridizing with various species of Epiphyllum, resulting in many types, some of which are greatly admired, and for which new specific, varietal, and form names have been proposed.
The name is from the Greek, meaning sun-cereus.
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