Stems much branched at base, sometimes mainly subterranean, the branches slender, erect, ascending, or pendent; ribs few, crenate, with spiny areoles; flowers small, funnelform-campanulate, the tube short; throat short, funnelform, covered with stamens; outer perianth-segments obtuse or sometimes with acute tips; filaments numerous, white, about half the length of the inner perianth-segments; style stout, a half longer than the stamens; ovary tuberculate, bearing minute ovate scales with spines and felt in their axils; fruit juicy, small, globular, bearing clusters of deciduous spines; seeds numerous, minute.
The genus consists of 4 species, so far as known; Cereus squarrosus Vaupel is the type species. It is named in honor of Ellwood C. Erdis, who was in charge of the topographical work of the Yale University Peruvian Expedition, 1914.
The plants resemble in habit some of the bushy Cuban species of the genus Leptocereus. In the shape of the flowers, the spiny ovary, and the deciduous spines on the fruit, some of them suggest Echinocereus, but the habit is very different, and no Echinocereus is known to be of South American origin.
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