Etymology - The generic name comes from the Greek akantha, meaning thorn, which describes the very spiny formation along the stems and branches.
Acanthocereus species are primarily sprawling or shrubby plants often with arching stems. These stems are distinctly angled with between 3 and 5 ribs although possibly only 2 or as many as 7 in rare cases and may or may not be segmented. Flowers are white in all species and are nocturnal; and at least some species quite fragrant. Spines are thorn-like, that is short and stout. Flower tubes have spines and scales and the fruits may or may not have spines. Mature fruits are red and globular containing large black seeds in a red pulp.
This genus occurs in the tropics of Southern Mexico, Central America, Northern South America, the Caribbean and even Florida. While 6 species are recognized here, A. tetragonus is far more common than the other species and the type for the genus, A. baxaniensis is questioned by some to possibly not even be a valid species. I would very much like to hear from anyone who has seen this species in habitat.