Martin Cárdenas, who described the genus Samaipaticereus with one species in 1952, described a second in 1957, S. inquisivensis. He reported that it occurred in Inquisivi province, La Paz, Bolivia, a considerable distance from the habitat the first species, S. corroanus. Later, Friedrich Ritter found the second species nearby in Yungas province and believed it to be quite different from S. corroanus, so in 1980 he described Yungasocereus (type, S. inquisivensis = Y. inquisivensis) for it. The International Cactaceae Systematics Group was unsure of the status of Yungasocereus and provisionally placed it in Haageocereus (Hunt and Taylor 1986, 1990). Later, however, it was separated as a distinct genus with a single species (Hunt 1996).

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