Mr E A Goldman Contr U S Nat Herb 16 352 353 1916 speaks of it as follows

"We first saw this remarkable cactus on the coastal plain near Santo Domingo, about 30 miles north of Matancita and here made a collection. From this point southward it was noted at intervals on the plains as far as the Llano de Yrais and on the lower and more sandy parts of Magdalena Island. The stems grow 1 to 3 meters in length and are nearly prostrate, and from this habit and their long whitish recurved spines have aptly been likened to huge caterpillars. The growing ends of the branches stand up from the ground, but progressive growth leaves the main body lying prostrate. The stems become rooted along the lower sides and gradually die behind, resulting in a slow progression of the living portion along the ground. Multiplication of individuals frequently results from the decay of connecting parts. In some places disconnected plants forming a hollow circle can be traced by the remains of dead trunks to a common center. The plants show a preference for soft parts of the coastal plain and grow usually in groups, often topping a slight eminence formed of wind-drifted material. These cactuses serving as a sand binder and preventing erosion tend to favor further accumulations. The desert foxes (Vulpes macrotis devius) of the region find congenial burrowing places among the procumbent trunks."

Illustrations: Monatsschr. Kakteenk. 5: 71; Proc. Calif. Acad. II. 2: pl. 7; Schumann, Gesamtb. Kakteen f. 29; Nat. Geogr. Mag. 22: 466, as Cereus eruca; Contr. U. S. Nat. Herb. 16: pl. 127, as Lemaireocereus eruca.

Figure 171 is from a photograph taken by E. A. Goldman at Santo Domingo, Lower California; figure 172 5 from a photograph of a plant collected by C. R. Orcutt at Magdateria Bay, Lower California.

Fig. 172.—Machaerocereus eruca.

2. Machaerocereus gummosus (Engelmann).

Cereus gummosus Engelmann in Brandegee, Proc. Calif. Acad. II. 2: 162

Cereus cumengei Weber, Bull. Mus. Hist. Nat. Paris 1: 317. 1895.

Cereusflexuosus Engelmann in Coulter, Contr. U. S. Nat. Herb. 3: 411.

Lemaireocereus cumengei Britton and Rose, Contr. U. S. Nat. Herb.

Lemaireocereus gummosus Britton and Rose, Contr. U. S. Nat. 12: 425.

1909.

Fig. 172.—Machaerocereus eruca.

2. Machaerocereus gummosus (Engelmann).

Cereus gummosus Engelmann in Brandegee, Proc. Calif. Acad. II. 2: 162

Cereus cumengei Weber, Bull. Mus. Hist. Nat. Paris 1: 317. 1895.

Cereusflexuosus Engelmann in Coulter, Contr. U. S. Nat. Herb. 3: 411.

Lemaireocereus cumengei Britton and Rose, Contr. U. S. Nat. Herb.

Lemaireocereus gummosus Britton and Rose, Contr. U. S. Nat. 12: 425.

1909.

Erect or ascending, but usually not a meter high, or with long, spreading, sometimes prostrate, branches, the whole plant sometimes having a spread of 6 to 7 meters; branches 4 to 6 cm. in diameter; ribs usually 8, rarely 9, low and obtuse; areoles rather large, about 2 cm. apart; spines stout, the radials 8 to 12, somewhat unequal, about 1 cm. long; central spines 3 to 6, stout, flattened, one much longer than the others and about 4 cm. long; flowers 10 to 14 cm. long, the tube long and slender; inner perianth-segments 2 to 2.5 cm. long, purple; stamens about as long as the segments; fruit subglobose, 6 to 8 cm. in diameter, spiny; skin of fruit bright scarlet; pulp purple; seeds rugose, pitted, 2.5 mm. long.

Type locality: Lower California.

Distribution: Lower California and adjacent islands.

Dr. Rose, who visited Lower California in 1911, found this the most widely distributed there of all the cacti. He observed it at all stations visited on the main peninsula and on all the islands of the Gulf of California except Tiburon and Estaban. The plant is rather diverse in its habit; it often sends out long horizontal branches which take root and start other colonies. In habit it much resembles Rathbunia alamosensis, but is usually stouter and less gregarious. The Fig. 173._M.

1889. 1896.

1889. 1896.

fruit is called pitahaya agre or pitahaya agria and is probably the most valuable fruit of Lower California. A fish poison is prepared by bruising the stems. The mashed pulp is then thrown into a running stream.

Cereus gummatus, C. gumminosus, and C. pfersdorffii Hildmann (Schumann, Gesamtb. Kakteen 125. 1897) are only garden names of this species.

Illustrations: Grassner, Haupt-Verz. Kakteen 3; Monatsschr. Kakteenk. 13: 105, both as Cereus gummosus; Contr. U. S. Nat. Herb. 16: pl. 126 A, as Lemaireocereus gummosus.

Figure 173 is from a photograph of a plant collected by Dr. Rose at Santa Maria Bay in 1911; figure 174 is from a photograph taken by E. A. Goldman on Esperito Santo Island, Lower California, in 1906; figure 175 shows a flower drawn from an herbarium specimen obtained from C. R. Orcutt, collected in northern Lower California.

20. NYCTOCEREUS (Berger) Britton and Rose, Contr. U. S. Nat. Herb. 12: 423. 1909.

Erect or clambering, slender, sparingly branched cacti, with cylindric, ribbed stems and branches; ribs numerous, low; areoles each bearing a tuft of short white wool and small radiating acicular bristles or weak spines; flowers large, white, nocturnal; ovary bearing small scales, short or long wool, and tufts of weak spines or bristles*; perianth funnelform, gradually expanding above, bearing scales and tufts of weak bristles below the middle, above the middle bearing narrowly lanceolate scales distant from each other and grading into the blunt outer perianth-segments; inner perianth-segments widely spreading, obtuse or acutish; stamens numerous, shorter than the perianth; style about as long as the stamens; fruit fleshy, scaly, spiny or bristly; seeds large, black.

Type species: Cereus serpentinus De Candolle.

Nyctocereus was considered by A. Berger a subsection of his subgenus Eucereus but his conception of it was of a complex, from which we would exclude all but three of the species which he referred to it. He speaks of certain forms in the type species which have smaller flowers and no fruit; this variation we have also noticed in N. guatemalensis.

The name is from the Greek, meaning night-cereus. Five species are here recognized, natives of Mexico and Central America.

Fig. 174.—Machaerocereus gummosus.

Fig. 174.—Machaerocereus gummosus.

Building Your Own Greenhouse

Building Your Own Greenhouse

You Might Just End Up Spending More Time In Planning Your Greenhouse Than Your Home Don’t Blame Us If Your Wife Gets Mad. Don't Be A Conventional Greenhouse Dreamer! Come Out Of The Mould, Build Your Own And Let Your Greenhouse Give A Better Yield Than Any Other In Town! Discover How You Can Start Your Own Greenhouse With Healthier Plants… Anytime Of The Year!

Get My Free Ebook


Post a comment