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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


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.A

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.B


A. Sánchez, D. & Arias, S. 2022: Updates to the Cactaceae species-level checklist for the genera Peniocereus, Pachycereus, Backebergia and Pterocereus. – Published online at
B. 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