Slender, vine-like cacti, creeping or clambering, sending out aerial roots freely, day-blooming; flowers rather small, one at an areole, funnelform, pink to red, the tube nearly straight, or bent just above the ovary, the limb somewhat oblique; outer perianth-segments linear, spreading or recurved, scattered; inner perianth-segments broad, more compact than the outer perianth-segments; stamens exserted, in a single, somewhat i-sided cluster; filaments attached all along the throat; tube proper about the length of the narrow throat; fruit globose, small, reddish, setose; seeds few, reddish brown, obovate.
We recognize 5 species, the typical one being Cactus flagelliformis Linnaeus.
This genus, first described by Lemaire, included not only the typical A. flagelliformis, but also Cereus baumannii and C. colubrinus, but the next year he withdrew the last two species. The name has never come into very general use, in spite of the good generic characters. The geographical distribution of the genus is uncertain. Three of the species are known to grow wild in Mexico, while A. flagelliformis, also common in Mexico, was very early introduced into Europe as from South America.
The name is from the Greek, signifying impenetrable cactus, of no obvious application.
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