Leptocereus was described as a subgenus of Cereus by Alwin Berger in 1905 and raised by Nathaniel Britton and Joseph Rose in 1920 to the level of genus (type, C. assurgens = L. assurgens), the name derived from the Greek leptos, slender, referring to the thin ribs. Leptocereus is relatively uncommon in cultivation. An important revision of the genus has been done by Alberto Areces-Mallea (2000), who has extensively studied many of the cacti of the Caribbean.

The 15 species of Leptocereus are separated on islands of the Caribbean and have evolved through geographic isolation (Areces-Mallea 1993). They are sometimes treelike but more commonly sprawling, vinelike, or even crawling shrubs with segmented branches bearing several thin, high ribs. Cephalia are present in some species. Flowers are open either day or night, are tubular to bell shaped, and usually white or pale green though some are yellow or pink. The pericarpels and usually short floral tubes are often densely spiny, with the areoles on raised protuberances.

Leptocereus (A. Berger) Britton & Rose 1909 Cereus subg. Leptocereus A. Berger 1905 Neoabbottia Britton & Rose 1921

Subfamily Cactoideae, tribe Pachycereeae. Plants treelike to shrubby, much branched, often atangles, erect, vinelike, clambering, or prostrate, 8-10 m (26-33 ft) high. Stems usually cylindrical and segmented, not producing aerial roots. Ribs 3-8, thin, high, prominent, sometimes with notched margins. Areoles usually with long-lasting spines. Spines needle-like, slender. Flowers borne near the stem tips, sometimes from terminal cephalia, solitary or In clusters, open duringthe day or night, tubular, bell shaped, orsalverform, fairly small; pericarpels and floral tubes usually with scales and spines; floral tubes usually short; stamensand style barely exserted. Fruits globose to elliptical, fleshy, usually spiny, deciduous when ripe, with numerous seeds. Seeds black. Distribution: Caribbean, on the islands of Cuba, Hispanlola, Puerto Rico, and Culebra.

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