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Classification System: APG IV

Superregnum: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Cladus: Angiosperms
Cladus: Eudicots
Cladus: Core eudicots
Ordo: Caryophyllales

Familia: Cactaceae
Subfamilia: Cactoideae
Tribus: Cereeae
Subtribus: Trichocereinae
Genus: Vatricania
Species: V. guentheri

Vatricania Backeb., Cact. Succ. J. (Los Angeles) 22: 154. 1950.
Type species: Vatricania guentheri (Kupper) Backeb.


Phylogenetics: Included in Espostoa s.l. by modern lexicographic treatments such as Anderson (2001, 2005) and Hunt (2006), the genus was found to be distant from the Espostoa in the Cleistocactus s.str. clade by Schlumpberger & Renner (2012). Consequently, the monotypic Vatricania was suggested to be reinstated
Native distribution areas:
Primary references

Backeberg, C. (1950) Cact. Succ. J. (Los Angeles) 22: 154.

Additional references

Ritz, M.C. & al. 2007. The molecular phylogeny of Rebutia (Cactaceae) and its allies demonstrates the influence of paleogeography on the evolution of South American mountain cacti. American Journal of Botany 94: 1321–1332.
Schlumpberger, B.O. & Renner, S.S. (2012) Molecular phylogenetics of Echinopsis (Cactaceae): Polyphyly at all levels and convergent evolution of pollination modes and growth forms. Am. J. Bot. 99(8): 1335–1349 [1].
Korotkova, N., Aquino, D., Arias, S., Eggli, U., Franck, A. , Gómez-Hinostrosa, C., Guerrero, P.C., Hernández, H.M., Kohlbecker, A., Köhler, M., Luther, K., Majure, L.C., Müller, A., Metzing, D., Nyffeler, R., Sánchez, D., Schlumpberger, B. & Berendsohn, W.G. 2021. Cactaceae at Caryophyllales. org–a dynamic online species-level taxonomic backbone for the family. Willdenowia 51(2): 251–270. DOI: 10.3372/wi.51.51208 Open access Reference page.


Korotkova, N. et al. 2021. Vatricania in Cactaceae at A global synthesis of species diversity in the angiosperm order Caryophyllales. Published online. Accessed: 2021 Nov 12. Reference page.
International Plant Names Index. 2021. Vatricania. Published online. Accessed: Nov 12 2021. 2021. Vatricania. Missouri Botanical Garden. Published online. Accessed: 12 Nov 2021.
Hassler, M. 2021. Vatricania. World Plants: Synonymic Checklists of the Vascular Plants of the World In: Roskovh, Y., Abucay, L., Orrell, T., Nicolson, D., Bailly, N., Kirk, P., Bourgoin, T., DeWalt, R.E., Decock, W., De Wever, A., Nieukerken, E. van, Zarucchi, J. & Penev, L., eds. 2021. Species 2000 & ITIS Catalogue of Life. Published online. Accessed: 2021 Nov 12. Reference page.

Vernacular names

Vatricania is a monotypic genus of flowering plants belonging to the family Cactaceae. It just contains one species, Vatricania guentheri (Kupper) Backeb.Greenm. ex Gleason [2] It has the common name of Red Tail Cactus.[3][4]

Its native range is Bolivia.[2][3] It is found in dry forest vegetation or covering hillsides, at altitudes of 800–1,300 metres (2,600–4,300 ft) metres above sea level.[5]


An evergreen, perennial columnar cactus.[3][4][6] It can grow up to 2 m (6 ft 7 in) tall.[3] Branching occurs from the base, with pale green stems up to 10 cm (4 in) in diameter.[4] It has about 27 ribs.[3][4][6] The flowers are initially borne in a cephalium (reddish brown wool,[4]) running down from the crown (top of the plant) on one side, of the branches,[3] later in a superficial dome cephalium.[6] It blooms during the early summer and develops yellowish whitish flowers that get up to 8 cm long and 5–3 cm (2–1 in) in diameter.[3] The flowers are yellowish white areoles or funnel shaped flowers,[4] with 25 spines, 5–22 mm (0–1 in) long.[3][4] It has edible fruit.[4]
Flower of the plant

The genus name of Vatricania is in honour of Louis Félix Vatrican (1904–2007), an agricultural engineer from Monaco, director of the national Jardin Exotique.[7] The Latin specific epithet of guentheri refers to Ernesto Günther of Valparaíso, Chile, who financed the expedition in Bolivia during which Carl Troll discovered the species. Kupper had originally spelled the epithet Güntheri.[8]

The genus was first described and published in Cact. Succ. J. (Los Angeles) vol.22 on page 154 in 1950.[2] Then the species was published in Cact. Succ. J. (Los Angeles) Vol.23 on page 149 in 1951.[1]

It was originally named in 1931 as Cephalocereus guentheri Kupper, being named after Ernesto Günther. Then in 1950 the famous German cactologist Curt Backeberg created the monotypic genus of Vatricania to accommodate this unique species, it was lumped into Espostoa in 1959.[9]

Vatricania was once thought to be a synonym of Espostoa Britton & Rose, (or still is in some sources,[5][10]) including by the United States Department of Agriculture and the Agricultural Research Service in 2005, and they also do not list any known species.[11] Or it might have a hybrid origin as there are differences from Espostoa.[12] Also current molecular evidence suggests that Espostoa is not the correct placement for this species.[9]

The name is accepted by the Royal Horticultural Society in the UK.[13]

It is placed in Trichocereinae Tribe.[14]
Espostoa guentheri

Can be grown in the USA,[4] in Zone USDA: 9b-11.[3] It can survive a minimum average temperature of 55°F (12°C) and can tolerate positions in full sun.[3]

"Vatricania guentheri (Kupper) Backeb". Plants of the World Online. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Retrieved 4 January 2022.
"Vatricania Backeb. | Plants of the World Online | Kew Science". Plants of the World Online. Retrieved 4 January 2022.
"Vatricania guentheri". Planet Desert. Retrieved 4 January 2022.
"VATRICANIA GUENTHERI. Red Foxtail Cactus". thepalmtreecompany. Retrieved 4 January 2022.
"Vatricania guentheri". Retrieved 4 January 2022.
Willy Cullmann, Erich Gotz, Erich Götz, Gerhard Groner and Gerhard Gröner The Encyclopedia of Cacti (1986), p. 311, at Google Books
Burkhardt, Lotte (2018). Verzeichnis eponymischer Pflanzennamen – Erweiterte Edition [Index of Eponymic Plant Names – Extended Edition] (pdf) (in German). Berlin: Botanic Garden and Botanical Museum, Freie Universität Berlin. doi:10.3372/epolist2018. ISBN 978-3-946292-26-5. Retrieved 1 January 2021.
"Vatricania guentheri". Dictionary of Cactus Names. 21 May 2021. Retrieved 4 January 2022.
Walker, Colin C. (3 December 2018). "Two rare Bolivian endemic cacti". New Zealand Cactus and Succulent Journal. 71: 15–17.
David Hunt (2006): The New Cactus Lexicon
"Genus Vatricania Backeb". Retrieved 4 January 2022.
Gorelick, Root (2019). "Espostoa (Vatricania) Guentheri have Unusual Cephalia or Pseudocephalia". Haseltonia. 26: 58–67.
"Vatricania guentheri | /RHS Gardening". Retrieved 4 January 2022.
Reto Nyffeler & Urs Eggli (2010): A farewell to dated ideas and concepts: molecular phylogenetics and a revised suprageneric classification of the family Cactaceae. Schumannia 6: 109-149

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