Stenocereus contains some of the most interesting columnar cacti, ranging from the spectacular organ pipe cactus, S. thur-beri, to the remarkable creeping devil, S. eruca. A distinguishing feature of Stenocereus is that the spines dehisce from the fruits. Strangely, many of the larger columnar cacti have been poorly studied, and published illustrations of them are few despite the fact that they are among the most prominent cacti.
Stenocereus was published by Alwin Berger in 1905 as a subgenus of 11 taxa within the large genus Cereus. Work by Gibson et al. (1986) has shown that Berger's taxa actually consisted of only nine species, now placed in five different genera. Vincenzo Riccobono raised Stenocereus (type, C. stel-latus - S. stellatus) to the level of genus in late 1909. The name Stenocereus is derived from the Greek stenos, narrow, thus narrow cereus and referring to the relatively narrow ribs. Nathaniel Britton and Joseph Rose described the genus Lemaireocereus in 1920, listing Stenocereus as a synonym of
Lemaireocereus. Franz Buxbaum (1961) reestablished Stenocereus as a genus, the type of Lemaireocereus having been shown to be Pachycereus hollianus.
The taxonomy of Stenocereus has been clarified by the work of Arthur Gibson and Karl Horak (1978), who expanded Stenocereus to include Rathbunia, Machaerocereus, and most of the species of Lemaireocereus. Gibson (1988a-e, 1989a,b, 1990a,b, 1991a,b) further discussed the classification of the columnar cacti. More recently, nomenclatural problems came to light concerning the priority of the name Stenocereus (Heath 1992) but that has been rectified by conservation of Stenocereus against the slightly older name Rathbunia (Taylor and Gibson 1994). Stenocereus contains 23 species, many flowering at night in summer but the flowers often remaining open until at least the next midday.
Stenocereus (A. Berger) Riccobono 1909, conserved name Cereus subg. Stenocereus A. Berger 1905 Piptanthocereus Riccobono 1909, in part and probably excludingthe type
Rathbunia Britton & Rose 1909 Machaerocereus Britton & Rose 1920 Ritterocereus Backeberg 1942 Hertrichocereus Backeberg 1950 Marshallocereus Backeberg 1950
Subfamily Cactoideae, tribe Pachycereeae. Plants large, treelike or shrubby, sometimes sprawling or creeping and forming thickets, sometimes with well-developed trunks. Stems stout, cylindrical, green. Ribs numerous. Tubercles present or absent. Areoles distinct, woolly. Spines usually heavy. Flowers funnelform or bell shaped, mostly open at night and with short perianths; pericarpels with numerous areoles, usually spiny. Fruits globose or ovoid, more or less fleshy, with spines and perianth parts that usually drop off at maturity. Seeds large, shiny black, usually smooth. Distribution: arid regions of southwestern United States, Mexico, Central America, Caribbean, Venezuela, and Colombia.
Stenocereus alamosensis (J. M. Coulter) A. C. Gibson &
K. E. Horak 1979 cina, nacido, octopus cactus, sina, tasajo Cereus alamosensis). M. Coulter 1896, Rathbunia alamosensis (J. M.
Coulter) Britton & Rose 1909 Cereus sonorensis Runge 1901, Rathbunia sonorensis (Runge) Britton
& Rose 1909 Rathbunia neosonorensis Backeberg 1960
Plants large columnar shrubs with the stems often arching, 2-4 m (6.6-13 ft) high. Stems bluish green, to 8 cm (3.1 in) in diameter. Ribs 5-8, somewhat sinuate, to 1 cm (0.4 in) high. Central spines 1-4, stout, erect, to 4.5 cm (1.8 in) long, whitish. Radial spines 11-18, whitish, 1.3-2.2 cm (0.5-0.9
642 Stenocereus alamosensis in) long. Flowers open during the day, tubular, red, 7-10 cm (2.8-3.9 in) long, 2-3 cm (0.8-1.2 in) in diameter, with recurving perianth parts. Fruits globose, 3-4.5 cm (1.2-1.8 in) in diameter, red, usually glabrous at maturity; floral remains persistent. Distribution: Sonora and Sinaloa, Mexico.
Stenocereus aragonii (F. A. C. Weber) Buxbaum 1961 Cereus aragonii F. A. C. Weber 1902, Lemaireocereus aragonii (F. A. C. Weber) Britton & Rose 1920, Marshallocereus aragonii(F. A. C. Weber) Backeberg 1951, Pachycereus aragonii (F. A. C. Weber) P. V. Heath 1992
Plants columnar, branching basally, usually lacking distinct trunks, 5-6 m (16-20 ft) high. Stems dark green, often with glaucous bands, with terminal portions to 3 m (9.8 ft) long and 12-15 cm (4.7-5.9 in) in diameter. Ribs 6-8, large, rounded, 2-3 cm (0.8-1.2 in) high. Central spines 1-3, gray, 2-3 cm (0.8-1.2 in) long. Radial spines 5-9, gray, to 1 cm (0.4 in) long. Flowers open at night, tuberculate, greenish brown, 6-8 cm (2.4-3.1 in) long. Distribution: arid region of western Costa Rica. Stenocereus aragonii is poorly known.
Stenocereus beneckei (Ehrenberg) Buxbaum 1961 Cereus beneckei Ehrenberg 1844, Piptanthocereus beneckei (Ehrenberg) Riccobono 1909, Lemaireocereus beneckei (Ehrenberg) Britton & Rose 1923, Hertrichocereus beneckei (Ehrenberg) Backeberg 1950, Rathbunia beneckei (Ehrenberg) P. V. Heath 1992
Plants shrubby, little branched, 1-2 m (3.3-6.6 ft) high, without well-defined trunks. Stems light to gray-green, often appearing whitish, erect or curving, 5-6 cm (2-2.4 in) in diameter. Ribs 7-9, strongly tuberculate. Tubercles large, ob-
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tuse, separated widely. Central spine one, blackish, erect, rigid, to 4 cm (1.6 in) long. Radial spines 2-5, grayish, to 1.5 cm (0.6 in) long. Flowers blooming at night in winter but remaining open into the day, borne terminally, white with brownish exterior, 6.5-8 cm (2.6-3.1 in) long, without spines or trichomes. Fruits elliptical, tuberculate, to 5 cm (2 in) long, 3 cm (1.2 in) in diameter, green, becoming red. Distribution: Guerrero, Morelos, and México, Mexico.
Stenocereus chacalapensis (Bravo & T. MacDougall) Buxbaum 1961
Ritterocereus chacalapensis Bravo &T. MacDougall 1956, Rathbunia chacalapensis (Bravo &T. MacDougall) P. V. Heath 1992
Plants treelike, candelabra-like with numerous branches and well-defined trunks, 10-15 m (33-49 ft) high. Stems very long, erect, gray-green, arranged closely to each other, to 15 cm (5.9 in) in diameter. Ribs 7, somewhat rounded, 4-5 cm (1.6-2 in) high, without interareolar notches. Spines 10-14, not clearly distinguishable as centrals and radials, erect, gray to black, 5-28 mm (0.2-1.1 in) long, the shortest ones in the upper part of the areole. Flowers open both night and day, funnelform, scented, white, to 11 cm (4.3 in) long and 7 cm
(2.8 in) in diameter. Fruits round, very spiny, brownish. Distribution: Oaxaca, Mexico.
Stenocereus chrysocarpus Sánchez-Mejorada 1972 Rathbunia chrysocarpa (Sánchez-Mejorada) P. V. Heath 1992
Plants treelike, candelabra-like with well-defined trunks, 5-9 m (16-30 ft) high. Stems numerous, erect, green, not close to each other, 2-5 m (6.6-16 ft) long, 10-14 cm (3.9-5.5 in) in diameter. Ribs 7-8, slightly sinuate, without interareolar notches, rounded on top, 3.5-4 cm (1.4-1.6 in) high. Central spines 0-2, deflected, grayish, short. Radial spines similar to centrals, usually 7, rigid, erect, whitish, 11-15 mm (0.4-0.6
in) long. Flowers wide funnelform, open at night and day, scented, white, to 10 cm (3.9 in) long and 8 cm (3.1 in) in diameter. Fruits very bristly, reddish purple, to 6 cm (2.4 in) long; perianth not persistent. Fruits ellipsoidal, reddish purple, 6 cm (2.4 in) long, 4 cm (1.6 in) in diameter. Distribution: Michoacan, Mexico.
Stenocereus eichlamii (Britton 8c Rose) Buxbaum 1961
guan0cal, 0rgan0, pitahaya, tuna
Lemaireocereus eichlamii Britton & Rose 1920, Cereus eichlamii (Britton & Rose) Standley 1940, Ritterocereus eichlamii (Britton & Rose) Backeberg 1951, Rathbunia eichlamii (Britton & Rose) P. V. Heath 1992
Stenocereus chrysocarpus, photograph by Charles Glass
Stenocereus chrysocarpus, photograph by Charles Glass
Lemaireocereus longispinus Britton & Rose 1920, Stenocereus longispinus (Britton & Rose) Buxbaum 1961, Rathbunia longispina (Britton & Rose) P. V. Heath 1992
Plants arboreal, rarely branching, to 6 m (20 ft) high. Stems erect, often banded, deep green. Ribs 8-10, broad and rounded below. Spines 4-6, not distinguishable as centrals and radials, one located in the center and erect, to 2 cm (0.8 in) long. Flowers open at night, funnelform, white, 6-7 cm (2.4-2.8 in) long. Fruits not known. Distribution: Chiapas, Mexico, and Guatemala.
Stenocereus eruca (T. Brandegee) A. C. Gibson 8c K. E. Horak 1979
casa de ratas, caterpillar cactus, cherinole, chirinole, creeping devil cactus
Cereus erucaT. Brandegee 1889, Lemaireocereus eruca (T. Brandegee) Britton & Rose 1909, Machaerocereus eruca (T. Brandegee) Britton & Rose 1920, Rathbunia eruca (T. Brandegee) P. V. Heath 1992
Plants prostrate, creeping along the ground, often forming huge masses of stems with the tips pointing slightly upward. Stems gray-green, 1-3 m (3.3-9.8 ft) long, 4-8 cm (1.6-3.1 in) in diameter, heavily spined, often forming adventitious roots. Ribs 10-12. Central spines 1-3, flattened and daggerlike, grayish, stout, 1-2.5 cm (0.4-1 in) long. Radial spines 10-17, whitish, more or less round, 1-1.5 cm (0.4-0.6 in) long, unequal. Flowers uncommon, open at night, long sal-verform, pale pinkish white to cream, 10-12 cm (3.9-4.7 in) long. Fruits globose, 3-4 cm (1.2-1.6 in) long. Distribution: loose, sandy soils of the Magdalena Plain, Baja California Sur, Mexico.
Stenocereusfimbriatus (Lamarck) Lourteig 1991 Cactus fimbriatus Lamarck 1783, Ritterocereus fimbriatus (Lamarck) Backeberg 1960, Rathbunia fimbriata (Lamarck) P. V. Heath 1992 Cactus hystrix Haworth 1819, Cereus hystrix (Haworth) Salm-Dyck 1822, Lemaireocereus hystrix (Haworth) Britton & Rose 1909, Ritterocereus hystrix (Haworth) Backeberg 1944, Stenocereus hystrix (Haworth) Buxbaum 1961
Plants treelike, somewhat candelabra-like, 8-12 m (26-39 ft) high, much branched with distinct trunks. Stems erect though somewhat diverging, to 30 cm (12 in) in diameter. Ribs 9-12, sharply separated, to 1.5 cm (0.6 in) high. Central spines usually 3, one longer than the others, gray with darker tips, to 4 cm (1.6 in) long. Radial spines usually 10, grayish. Flowers open during the day, reddish to dark green, spineless, 8-9 cm (3.1-3.5 in) long. Distribution: Caribbean, on Jamaica, Cuba, Hispaniola, and Puerto Rico. Stenocereus fimbriatus has a confusing nomenclature and is poorly known.
Stenocereus fricii Sánchez-Mejorada 1973
pitayo de aguas
Rathbunia fricii (Sánchez-Mejorada) P. V. Heath 1992
Plants treelike, somewhat candelabra-like, much branched, 4-7 m (13-23 ft) high with poorly defined trunks. Stems arising at or near the ground, rarely branched, light green to yellowish to grayish, 2-7 m (6.6-23 ft) long, 8-12 cm (3.14.7 in) in diameter. Ribs 4-6, wide, somewhat wavy, winged, narrow, 2.5-5 cm (1-2 in) high. Central spines 7-12 with 4 main ones stronger and longer, grayish white, 2-5 cm (0.8-2 in) long. Radial spines 12-14, radiating, grayish white, 0.6-1.2 cm (0.2-0.5 in) long. Flowers open during the day,
funnelform to bell shaped, white with cream or rose tint, 10-12 cm (3.9-4.7 in) long. Fruits globose, red or yellow, 5 cm (2 in) in diameter. Distribution: Jalisco, Colima, and Mi-choacan, Mexico. Stenocereus fricii is cultivated for its fruits (Chapter 2, under Cacti as Food).
Stenocereus griseus (Haworth) Buxbaum 1961
pitayo de mayo
Cereus griseus Haworth 1812, Lemaireocereus griseus (Haworth) Britton & Rose 1909, Ritterocereusgriseus (Haworth) Backeberg 1951, Rathbunia grisea (Haworth) P. V. Heath 1992 Cereus ebumeus Salm-Dyck 1822
Cereus deficiens Otto & A. Dietrich 1838, Lemaireocereus deficiens (Otto & A. Dietrich) Britton & Rose 1920, Ritterocereus deficiens (Otto & A. Dietrich) Backeberg 1960, Stenocereus deficiens (Otto & A. Dietrich) Buxbaum 1961, Rathbunia deficiens (Otto & A. Dietrich) P. V. Heath 1992
Plants treelike, branching from well-defined trunks, 6-9 m (20-30 ft) high. Stems green, somewhat glaucous, erect, 9-12 cm (3.5-4.7 in) in diameter. Ribs 6-10, bulging below each areole. Central spines 1-3, to 15 mm (0.6 in) long but the longest to 40 mm (1.6 in). Radial spines 6-11,6-10 mm (0.2-
0.4 in) long. Flowers open at night but lasting until midday, broad funnelform, with reflexed perianth parts, white, to 10 cm (3.9 in) long. Fruits oblong; perianth parts not persistent. Distribution: native to coastal Venezuela and adjacent islands but now broadly naturalized throughout Mexico. Stenocereus griseus is cultivated for its fruits (Chapter 2, under Cacti as Food).
Stenocereus gummosus (K. Brandegee) A. C. Gibson & K. E.
Horak 1978 dagger cactus, pitahaya agria, pitayo agrio Cereus gummosus K. Brandegee 1889, Lemaireocereus gummosus (K. Brandegee) Britton & Rose 1909, Machaerocereus gummosus (K. Brandegee) Britton & Rose 1920, Rathbunia gummosa (K. Brandegee) P. V. Heath 1992
Plants bushy, semierect with numerous stems branching from the ground, 1-1.5 m (3.3-4.9 ft) high. Stems gray-green, often sprawling, 3-6 cm (1.2-2.4 in) in diameter. Ribs 8-9, low, obtuse. Central spines 3-9, gray, stout, flattened, to 4 cm (1.6 in) long, one longer than the others. Radial spines 8-12, grayish, somewhat unequal in length, to 1 cm (0.4 in) long. Flowers open at night, salverform, with long
Stenocereus gummosus slender floral tubes, purplish white to rose pink, 10-14 cm (3.9-5.5 in) long. Distribution: widely distributed on the Baja California Peninsula, Mexico. Fruits of Stenocereus gummosus are harvested by the Seri, and terpenes from crushed stems have been used to stupefy fish (Chapter 2, under Cacti as Food, and Other Uses of Cacti).
Stenocereus kerberi (K. Schumann) A. C. Gibson & K. E. Horak 1978
Cereus kerberi K. Schumann 1897, Cleistocactus kerberi (K. Schumann) Gosselin 1904, Rathbunia kerberi (K. Schumann) Britton & Rose 1909
Plants columnar or much branched, often forming bushes 2-3 m (6.6-9.8 ft) high. Stems distinctly angular in cross section, 3-8 cm (1.2-3.1 in) in diameter. Ribs 4, notched and forming more or less distinct tubercles. Central spines 1-4, grayish, 4-5 cm (1.6-2 in) long. Radial spines 10-16, grayish, radiating, 1-2 cm (0.4-0.8 in) long. Flowers open during the day, slender funnelform, deep pink, 10-12 cm (3.9-4.7 in) long. Fruits red, globose, to 2.5 cm (1 in) in diameter; perianth parts persistent. Distribution: Sinaloa and Colima, Mexico.
Stenocereus laevigatus (Salm-Dyck) Buxbaum 1961 Cereus laevigatus Salm-Dyck 1850, Lemaireocereus laevigatus (SalmDyck) Borg 1951, Ritterocereus laevigatus (Salm-Dyck) Backeberg 1960, Rathbunia laevigata (Salm-Dyck) P. V. Heath 1992
Plants treelike, much branched, narrow columnar, 5-7 m (16-23 ft) high with well-formed and long trunks. Stems green to gray-green, erect. Ribs 8-10 with round edges and wavy margins. Central spine one, grayish. Radial spines 8, grayish, to 1 cm (0.4 in) long, radiating. Flowers open at night into the following morning, narrow funnelform, white, to 8 cm (3.1 in) long. Distribution: Chiapas, Mexico, and possibly Guatemala. Stenocereus laevigatus is poorly known and only a few plants are in cultivation.
Continue reading here: Stenocereus martinezii G Ortega Buxbaum 1961
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