These plants have erect stems, mostly slender, and usually very spiny. The spines are frequently brightly coloured. The flowers are small, with a long narrow tube, brightly coloured orange to red, and freely produced over a long period. The species are native to South America, and are of easy cultivation, requiring full sunshine and frequent watering in the growing season. They are easily propagated from seed and are very popular with collectors. The genus consists of 6 species.

Cleistocactus Baumannii. Argentina. The stems are stiff, with 12 to 16 ribs. The areoles bear numerous white, yellow, or brown spines which, with the orange to scarlet flowers, make the whole an attractive combination.

Cleistocactus Strausii. Bolivia. A very popular plant with collectors, and undoubtedly a lovely species. The slender, erect stem, branching from the base, is light green with approximately 25 ribs. The areoles have whitish wool, numerous hair-like white bristles, and about 4 yellow spines. A cristate form is also in cultivation.

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