Etymology -The genus was named in honour of the American botanist W. E. Browning.
Plants are treelike columnar cacti up to 33 (10m) feet in height. Most species have many shallow ribs which may be tuberculate. Spines are notable in many species in that young growth is heavily spined while older growth has few spines. Flowers are white or red and have large scales on the floral tubes. Fruits are small. These species hail from Bolivia, Chile, and Peru and are seldom grown in cultivation.