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Peniocereus (A.Berger) Britton & Rose in Contr. U.S. Natl. Herb. 12: 428. 1909 sec. Franco-Estrada & al. 2021


Revised by Salvador Arias

Taxon standing

Category B. The genus is monophyletic based on phylogenetic studies that support the clade based on a sufficiently dense or even complete sampling, or support a monotypic genus as a distinct lineage, but do not provide a new taxonomic treatment at the species level. In many cases, older classical taxonomic synopses or a monographic treatment exist for these genera providing a reliable assessment of the species included.A


Phylogenetics: The generic circumscription of Peniocereus was revised based on the molecular phylogenetic study of Arias & al. (2005). Their study based on plastid trnL-F and rpl16 found Peniocereus polyphyletic, its species resolved in three lineages. Peniocereus subg. Pseudoacanthocereus was found to be nested in Acanthocereus, yet both were also paraphyletic. For a classification reflecting these relationships, Peniocereus subg. Pseudoacanthocereus was transferred to Acanthocereus (Lodé 2013; Korotkova & al. 2017). The other major Peniocereus clade found by Arias & al. (2005) corresponds to Peniocereus subg. Peniocereus.
Peniocereus serpentinus, the type species of the earlier-proposed genus Nyctocereus was resolved as a separate lineage reinstating it as a monotypic genus Arias & al. (2005).
Phylogenetic relationships of Peniocereus and its relatives in the Pachycereinae were revisited by Franco-Estrada & a. (2021) using sequences from 5 plastid markers. This study confirmed the circumscription of Peniocereus with 7 species, Pachycereus with 5 species and provided well-supported evidence for the placement of Backebergia and Pterocereus as monotypic genera within the Pachycereinae.B


A. Franco-Estrada, D., Sánchez, D., Terrazas, T. & Arias, S. 2021: Phylogenetic analysis of Peniocereus (Cactaceae, Echinocereeae) based on five chloroplast DNA markers. – Brazilian Journal of Botany 44(4): 903-916
B. Sánchez, D. & Arias, S. 2022: Updates to the Cactaceae species-level checklist for the genera Peniocereus, Pachycereus, Backebergia and Pterocereus. – Published online at