Cereus coryne Salm-Dyck,* Cact. Hort. Dyck. 1849. 205. 1850.
Plants large and massive, 5 to 8 meters high, with a thick, short trunk up to 4 dm. in diameter and 4 to 6 dm. long, and many (100 or more) ascending or upright elongated branches; ribs 8 or 9, 1 to 1.5 cm. high, obtuse, more or less crenate; spines 7 to 9, unequal, the longest 5 cm. long, subulate; flowers 12 to 15 cm. long; inner perianth-segments white, spreading; fruit not known.
Type locality: Not cited.
Distribution: Northwestern Argentina.
Although this species has long been known in collections, it is usually represented by very small specimens and has been poorly described.
*Both Weber and Schumann make Otto the author of this name. Salm-Dyck credits it to the Berlin Gardens.
This tree-like cactus is native in the dry parts of northwestern Argentina, and occurs over a considerable area, growing with scattered shrubs and small trees on plains and low ridges. It is one of the most striking cacti in South America and often forms the dominant feature of the landscape on the high plains of northern Argentina.
In 1917, Dr. Shafer collected living specimens and flowers in Santiago del Estero, Argentina, which have enabled us to redescribe the species. Flowers were also collected by Wilhelm Bodenbender in 1905, but these were not accompanied by stems and were not at first associated with this species.
Illustrations: Monatsschr. Kak-teenk. 3: 177; 13: 187; Schelle, Handb. Kakteenk. f. 17; Rev. Hort. Belge 40: after 184, as Cereus coryne.
Plate ix is from a photograph contributed by Dr. Spegazzini. Figure 96 is from a photograph of flowering branches taken by Dr. Shafer at Santiago del Estero, Argentina, in 1917; figure 95 shows the flower of one of these branches.
7. ESCONTRIA Rose, Contr. U. S. Nat. Herb. 10: 125. 1906.
Large and much branched plants; ribs few; spines all similar, arranged in peculiar pectinate clusters,; flowers small, yellow, somewhat campanulate, one at an areole, diurnal; ovary globular, covered with imbricated chartaceous, translucent, persistent scales, their axils without spines or hairs; inner perianth-segments erect, narrow; stamens and style included; fruit globular, scaly, purple, fleshy, edible; seeds numerous, black, rugose, with a flattened, broad, basal hilum.
Type species: Cereus chiotilla Weber.
Only 1 species is definitely known. The genus commemorates Señor Don Blas Escontria, a distinguished Mexican, who died in 1906.
1. Escontria chiotilla (Weber) Rose, Contr. U. S. Nat. Herb. 10: 126. 1906.
Cereus chiotilla Weber in Schumann, Gesamtb. Kakteen 83. 1897.
Plant 4 to 7 meters high; trunk very short; branches numerous, forming a compact top, weak and easily broken, bright green, not at all glaucous; ribs 7 or 8, acute; areoles close together, often confluent, elliptic; radial spines 10 to 15, rather short, often reflexed; central spines several, one much longer than the others, somewhat flattened, sometimes 7 cm. long, all light colored; flowers borne near the ends of the branches, including the ovary about 3 cm. long; inner perianth-segments yellow, acuminate; scales on ovary and flower-tube arranged in many overlapping series, ovate, 8 to 15 mm. long; fruit glabrous, about 5 cm. in diameter, scaly, edible.
Type locality: Mexico.
Distribution: Southern Mexico.
The ripe fruit is sold in the market at Tehuacan under the name of geotilla or chiotilla and tuna. Dr. H. H. Rusby reports that the dried fruit, which tastes like gooseberries, is also sold in the markets.
This species was collected by Dr. A. Weber while connected with the French army in Mexico. Material was sent to Dr. Engelmann in 1864, but it was not described by him.
Illustrations: Bull. Soc. Acclim. France 52: f. 5; Möllers Deutsche Gärt. Zeit. 29: 445, as Cereus chiotilla; Contr. U. Fig 97.—Flowe,- fscomxa cMotUla. X0.7.
Plate x is from a photograph taken by Dr. MacDougal at Tomellin, Mexico, in 1906. Figure 97 shows a flower and figure 98 a fruit collected in 1905 by Dr. Rose near Tehuacan.
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