Tribe 3. CEREEAE.
Plants more or less fleshy, terrestrial or epiphytic, simple and 1-jointed or much branched and many-jointed, the joints globular, oblong, cylindric, columnar or flattened, and winged or leaflike, often strongly ribbed, angled, or tubercled; leaves* usually wanting on the joints (in a few cases developing as scales) but usually developing as scales on the ovary or perianth-tube; areoles never producing glochids. spines usually present (rare or wanting in most epiphytic genera and in a few species of other genera), various in color, structure, arrangement, and size, never sheathed; flowers sessile, mostly with a definite tube, various in size and shape in different genera, usually solitary at areoles, opening at various times of the day; perianth campanulate, funnelform or rotate; fruit usually a fleshy berry, but sometimes dry and dehiscing by a basal pore (in 1 species by an operculum). seeds usually small, brown or black, with a thin, more or less brittle testa; cotyledons usually minute knobs.
This tribe contains most of the genera and three-fourths or more of the species of Cactaceae. It has a wider range in structure of stems and flowers than is exhibited by the other tribes, the species being grouped in many genera. The first two subtribes are treated in this volume.
Key to Subtribes.
Perianth funnelform, salverform, tubular, or campanulate; segments several or many.
Areoles mostly spine-bearing; joints ribbed, angled, or tubercled, very rarely flat; mostly terrestrial cacti. Flowers and spines borne at the same areoles.
Several-jointed to many-jointed cacti, the joints long.
Erect, bushy, arching, or diffuse cacti 1. Cereanae
Vine-like cacti, with aerial roots 2. Hylocereanae
One-jointed or few-jointed cacti, the joints usually short, sometimes clustered, ribbed, or rarely tubercled.
Flowers at lateral areoles 3. Echinocereanae
Flowers at central areoles (See Gymnocalycium) 4. Echinocactanae
Flowers and spines borne at different areoles; short, one-jointed cacti.
Flowering areoles forming a central terminal cephalium 5. Cactanae
Flowering areoles at the bases or on the sides of the tubercles 6. Coryphanthanae
Areoles mostly spineless; joints many, long, flat; perianth mostly funnelform; epiphytic cacti . . .7. Eptphyllanae Perianth rotate, or nearly so; segments few; mostly spineless, epiphytic, slender, many-jointed cacti .8. Rhipsalidanae
Erect, bushy or sometimes diffuse, stout or slender cacti, the stems and branches several-jointed to many-jointed, usually very spiny, none epiphytic but species of 2 or 3 genera giving off a few roots when the branches touch the ground; flowers 1 or rarely several from the upper part of old areoles. in some genera the flowering areoles and their spines greatly modified; flowers either diurnal or nocturnal, various in size, color, and shape; stamens numerous, borne on the flower-tube; fruit smooth or spiny, usually fleshy, often edible; seeds various.
We group the species known to us in 38 genera.
Key to Genera.
A. Flowers solitary at the areoles, mostly large.
B. Perianth funnelform, salverform, pyriform, or campanulate. limb relatively large.
C. Ovary naked, or rarely bearing a few scales, which sometimes subtend tufts of short hairs.
Perianth funnelform, elongated.
Columnar cacti, or with columnar branches; perianth falling away by abscission 1. Cereus (p. 3)
Slender, elongated cacti; perianth withering-persistent 2. Monvillea (p. 21)
Perianth short-campanulate or short-funnelform to pyriform. columnar cacti 3. Cephalocereus (p. 25)
*Plants of the tribe Cereeae are usually said to be without leaves. Ganong, however, reports leaves in Cactus, Echinocactus, and Cereus, but we have never seen leaves on any plants of Cereus proper. However, they are easily observed on young growth of various species of Harrisia, Acanthocereus, Nyctocereus, Selenicereus, Hylocereus, and some other genera.
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