Haageocereus, found only at lower elevations along the Pacific coast of Peru and northern Chile, is poorly understood though conspicuous where it occurs. Although some species occur over wide ranges, H. tenuis occurs on shifting sand dunes over a range of perhaps only 1 square kilometer (0.4 square mile). Unfortunately, it is threatened by development, and the hope is that more populations will be found.
Curt Backeberg described Haageocereus (type, H. pseudo-melanostele) in 1934, naming it in honor of the German nurseryman Walther Haage. The cacti vary in habit from prostrate to treelike, with relatively slender, ribbed stems that are usually quite spiny. Flowers tend to be funnelform and are borne near the stem tips; they open in the afternoon and remain open until the following day. The pericarpels and stout floral tubes have numerous scales and are weak to densely hairy. Fruits are globose, fleshy, have few scales and hairs, and retain the perianth parts.
It is improbable that the large number of Haageocereus species described by Werner Rauh and Curt Backeberg and by Friedrich Ritter will stand the test of time. Extensive field-work is necessary to determine the limits of the species currently recognized, for the plants vary widely in many characteristics, suggesting that there are fewer species than the 20 described here.
Haageocereus also hybridizes naturally with other genera (Rowley 1994), including Espostoa (see xHaagespostoa), and the following names have been applied to plants believed to be of hybrid origin: Haageocereus comosus Rauh 8c Backeberg 1957, H. rubrospinus (Akers) Cullmann 1960 (syn. Peru-vocereus rubrispinus Akers 1947), H. salmonoideus (Akers) Backeberg 1958 (syn. P. salmonoideus Akers 1947), H. seti-ceps Rauh & Backeberg 1957, and H. smaragdiflorus Rauh 8c Backeberg 1957.
Subfamily Cactoldeae, tribe Trichocereeae. Plants shrubby to treelike. Stems prostrate and creeping, sprawling, ascending, or erect. Ribs usually many. Areoles close set. Spines abundant; flowering areoles often with additional bristles. Flowers borne near the stem tips, open at night into the following day, tubularto funnelform, openingto flat rotate, white to pink or red; floral tubes stout, fleshy; pericarpels and floral tubes with few to many hairs and numerous scales; stamens in a single series; styles exserted. Fruits globose, fleshy, with a few scales and hairs; floral remains persistent. Seeds ovoid, glossy black, pitted irregularly. Distribution: lower elevations in the western regions of Peru and northern Chile.
Haageocereus acranthus (Vaupel) Backeberg 1935 Cereus acranthus Vaupel 1913, Binghamia acrantha (Vaupel) Britton & Rose 1920
Cereus limensis Salm-Dyck 1845, Haageocereus limensis (Salm-Dyck) F. Ritter 1981
Haageocereus olowinskianus Backeberg 1937, Binghamia olowin-skiana (Backeberg) W. T. Marshall 1941, H. acranthus var. olowinskianus (Backeberg) Ostolaza 1995, H. acranthus subsp. olowinskianus (Backeberg) Ostolaza 1998 Haageocereus achaetus Rauh & Backeberg 1957 Haageocereus clavispinus Rauh & Backeberg 1957 Haageocereus deflexispinus Rauh & Backeberg 1957 Haageocereus iachayensis Rauh & Backeberg 1957
Haageocereus acranthus subsp. olowinskianus
Haageocereus pseudoacranthus Rauh & Backeberg 1957 Haageocereus zonatus Rauh & Backeberg 1957
Plants columnar with curving or upright stems, sparsely branching. Stems 1-2 m (3.3-6.6 ft) high, to 8 cm (3.1 in) in diameter. Ribs 12-14, forming tubercles near the stem tips. Areoles close set, yellow to dark brown. Central spine usually one, sometimes several, downward pointing, to 4 cm (1.6 in) long. Radial spines 20-30, yellow, to 1 cm (0.4 in) long. Flowers greenish white, 6-8 cm (2.4-3.1 in) long. Fruits round, green. Distribution: Peru.
Two subspecies of Haageocereus acranthus are recognized. Subspecies acranthus grows to 2 m (6.6 ft) high; it occurs in the valleys of the Rio Rimac and Rio Lurin in the vicinity of Lima. Subspecies olowinskianush&s stems to only 1 m (3.3 ft) high; it occurs south of Lima in several restricted populations.
Haageocereus albispinus (Akers) Backeberg 1958 Peruvocereus albispinus Akers 1948 Haageocereus peniculatus Rauh & Backeberg 1957
Plants columnar, branching basally with 3-10 stems, to 2 m (6.6 ft) high. Stems slender, dark green, to 6 cm (2.4 in) in diameter, hidden by dense spines and hairs. Ribs 25-26, low. Areoles white felted, 6-7 mm (0.2-0.3 in) apart, with 35-40 short, white, twisted hairs to 1 cm (0.4 in) long. Central spine usually absent, sometimes one, sharp, needle-like, to 1.5 cm (0.6 in) long. Radial spines about 25, bristle-like, pale yellow, becoming silvery white, to 13 mm (0.5 in) long. Flowers narrow funnelform, greenish white to green, to 4.5 cm (1.8 in) in diameter. Fruits ellipsoidal, rose colored with long white hairs, to 3.5 cm (1.4 in) in diameter. Distribution: Santa Eulalia Valley, Peru.
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