Either simple or cespitose, globular to short-cylindric, small cacti; ribs numerous, low, somewhat tubercled, very spiny; flowers central, funnelform, scarlet; ovary and flower-tube scaly; axils of scales long-hairy but not spiny nor bristly; fruit so far as known dry, dehiscing by a basal pore; seed black, pitted, with a broad basal hilum.
Type species: Echinocactus leucotrichus Philippi.
The genus as here treated consists of two species, one of which has heretofore appeared under several specific names, sometimes in Echinocactus and sometimes in Echinopsis, although it has little in common with either genus and, especially, as these genera are now understood.
Arequipa is characterized by its slender, elongated, scarlet flower. The species are confined to the mountains of Peru and northern Chile. The generic name is that of the city in Peru near which the type species is found in great abundance.
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