ISI 2007-3. Hildewintera colademononis Diers & Krahn

This is sure to become as popular in horticulture as H. aureispina, the other species in the genus. The latter species has been widely cultivated since its introduction in the early 1960s by the German nurserywoman Hilde Winter, for whom the genus is named. The new species was described in 2003 (KuaS 54(8):221) and was beautifully illustrated and further reviewed in two articles in the C&S Journal (Nov.-Dec., 2003 and Jan.-Feb., 2004). In the latter article Roberto Kiesling and Detlev Metzing argued for the distinctness of the genus (pendent lithophytic habit, showy biseriate perianth and smooth seed testa) but predicted future combination with Cleistocactus by other taxonomists. Indeed, the new Cactus Lexicon (2006) treats it as a subspecies of C. winteri (of which Hildewintera aureispina is a synonym). In any case, this new find appears to be unique in the cactus family in the development of the nectar spur which is seen to a lesser degree in Cleistocactus vulpis-cauda. This spur is a swollen area at the base of the flower modified for collection of copious nectar that attracts hummingbird pollinators. C. vulpis-cauda is also a pendent lithophyte but has tubular flowers with uniformly short perianth segments and a coarser seed testa, features more typical of Cleistocactus in the strict sense. The tongue-twisting epithet colademononis is derived from the Spanish vernacular name Cola de Mono (meaning monkey’s tail) applied by residents of the Bolivian town of Samaipata who first brought the species into cultivation from its nearby habitat. Our plants were grown by Uhlig’s Cactus Nursery in Germany from seed collected by Ewald Heger (# 178a) and Wolfgang Krahn at the type locality: 2000 m. on Cerro El Fraile, Prov. Florida, Bolivia. HBG 95223, $12.

Photo © 2007 by Eva & Voitek Foik. Images may not be used elsewhere without permission.

Published in the Cactus and Succulent Journal, Vol. 79 (2), March - April, 2007