Etymology - The generic name is from the Greek koleos, "sheath", and kephale, "head", a reference to the cephaliumColeocephalocereus is another group of cactus that are endemic to Brazil. All species are short columnar plants while a subspecies of C. aureus remains more globose. The stems feature multiple shallow ribs up to 35 in number that may be somewhat tuberculate, but are more often straight. Moderate spination comes out of small, closely spaced areoles. The most distinctive feature of the genus is the lateral cephalium out of which come small tubular white or red flowers. Fruits are small rounded and reddish colored. The genus is unusual in cultivation, but not unknown with the smaller, more manageable C. aureus and C. purpureus being considerably more common than the other species.