Curt Backeberg described Acanthocalycium (type, Echino-cactus spiniflorum = A. spiniflorum) for nine species from Argentina, most previously included in Echinopsis. The name Acanthocalycium is derived from the Greek akantha, prickly, and kalyx, thus referring to the spiny buds. Most botanists, including the International Cactaceae Systematics Group, have been unsure whether to accept Acanthocalycium or include its species in the broadly defined genus Echinopsis. Ini tially, Acanthocalycium was included in Echinopsis (Hunt and Taylor 1986), but later, Acanthocalycium was accepted (Hunt and Taylor 1990), based on the decision that until further information became available, especially from DNA sequencing and field studies, Acanthocalycium should be "provisionally accepted" (Hunt 1997a). Acanthocalycium comprises three species, globose to somewhat elongate plants bearing spiny stems with numerous ribs; the pink to white to red flowers are usually funnelform and open during the day.

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