Plants prostrate or low and bushy, often with long horizontal or prostrate stout branches, very spiny throughout; ribs low; areoles large, felted, and spiny; spines numerous, the centrals flattened and dagger-like; flowers diurnal, 1 at an areole, long, slender, funnelform, the perianth persisting on the fruit; stamens numerous, borne on the narrow elongated throat; ovary and lower part of flower-tube bearing many small scales, these subtending felted areoles which afterwards bear clusters of spines; fruit globular, edible when young, covered with clusters of spines, but when fully mature becoming naked; seeds dull black, somewhat punctate, acute on the back.
In its fruit this genus is nearest Lemaireocereus, to which we once referred its two species; the perianth, however, is much more elongated and more persistent; in habit and shape of spines the species are very different from any of Lemaireocereus.
Two species, natives of Lower California, are recognized, of which Cereus eruca Bran-degee is the type.
The generic name is from the Greek, signifying dagger-cereus, with reference to the dagger-like spines.
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