Machaerocereus eruca Brandegee

Cereus eruca Brandegee, Proc. Calif. Acad. II. 2: 163. 1889.

Lemaireocereus eruca Britton and Rose, Contr. U. S. Nat. Herb. 12: 425. 1909.

Prostrate, except the erect or ascending tips; branches 1 to 3 meters long, 4 to 8 cm. in diameter, usually simple, rooting on the under surface, dying at the older end and growing forward at the other; sometimes several plants starting as branches from a common parent as a center and first radiating out, then dying at the rear; ribs about 12; areoles large, 2 cm. apart; spines about 20, very unequal, pale gray, the outer ones terete, the inner ones stout and flatter, the longest about 3 cm. long; flowers 10 to 12 cm. long, described as yellow; tube about 10 cm. long, nearly 6 mm. in diameter; limb 4 to 6 cm. broad; ovary very spiny; fruit spiny, 4 cm. long; seeds black.

Type locality: Magdalena Island, Lower California.

Distribution: Lower California.

The plant is known in Lower California as chirinola and creeping devil cactus. Mr. Brandegee describes it as follows:

"Its manner of growth with uplifted heads and prominent reflexed spines gives the plants a resemblance to huge caterpillars."

While this resemblance is true of the plants when growing in the open, it is especially striking when the plant meets with some obstruction such as a log or large stone. Then it raises its head, crawls up one side and down the other, and finally by the dying of the rear virtually passes over the obstruction.

Fig. 171.—Machaerocereus eruca.
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