Plants globose to cylindric, sometimes much elongated and then sprawling or pendent over cliffs; more or less hairy at the crown; ribs usually straight, more or less tubercled; flowers from the center of the plant, short-funnelform, usually pinkish or reddish; stigma-lobes cream-colored to reddish; scales on the flower-tube bearing wool and long bristles in their axils; fruit as far as known small, more or less globular, dehiscing by a basal pore; seeds brown, somewhat wrinkled, tuberculate with a somewhat depressed hilum.
There are several species along the coast and mountains of Chile of which Echinocactus subgibbosus Haworth is selected as the type. In Schumann's keys one would look for these species in his subgenus Notocactus of Echinocactus but, as a matter of fact, most of them have been assigned to the subgenus Hybocactus. The group as treated here is a natural one and deserves separation as a genus. Doubtless, still other species will be assigned here when better known. From Malacocarpus, to which we have referred most of Schumann's species grouped by him in Notocactus, it differs in its fruit, seeds, and in the shape and color of the flowers.
The genus is named for Carlos Porter of Chile, a well-known entomologist. Seven species are described.
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