The Garden Community for Garden Lovers

Little stars or Christmas lights ...


By hywel


Since many members think the flowers on my epiphytic cactus look Christmassy I thought I’d write a blog about it …

It is called Rhipsalis pilocarpa and it is native to tropical forests in the southern states of Brazil, where it grows on the branches of trees.
It is very pendulous (see photo below) and I have to put a stone on the pot to stop it from falling over.

In the summer I put it in a hanging basket and it is quite happy in a shady perspex shelter, but in October I bring it indoors and put it on a shelf where it always flowers in December and January.

The stems are jointed and covered in fluffy white hairs, and the flowers look like little stars …

After the flowers fade some bright red friuts are formed, like berries.
Here is an old photo which I have shown a few years ago :-

This year’s berries have not formed yet. Sometimes they do and sometimes they don’t.

Rhipsalis pilocarpa is an endangered species in the wild, due to deforestation causing it to lose it’s habitat, such a shame :(
but it is widely grown as an ornamental plant in cultivation.

I have several different species of epiphytic forest cacti and here’s a photo of some of them in their winter home on a shelf in the kitchen, R. pilocarpa as you can see is on the left …

I have more than this, they are dotted around the house for the winter, and they are fascinating plants to grow :)

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Thank you, they last a few weeks ...

7 Dec, 2021


Thanks for the info on this plant, Hywel! 👍 I quite like it & I think it might be a talking point for visitors when they visit people's homes where this plant is growing!

7 Dec, 2021


Love the little starry flowers. Ty for this informative blog.
Shame that we are losing so many plants in the wild. Perhaps one day in the far distant future we will load the ones we gave saved into a space ship & take them with us to another planet, in cell form of course, ( another ark).

7 Dec, 2021


Thank you for the info Hywel. It was very interesting.
You must be very dedicated to all your plants as they are all very healthy and is a good hobby for you!

8 Dec, 2021


Thanks for all your comments,

Rose I have been told that I am plant mad :D I love them ...

When we've destroyed this planet we can go and destroy another one Feverfew :D

They are very interesting Balcony, do you want one ? I've got some rooted cuttings.

8 Dec, 2021


What a lovely blog . As you may remember daughter Victoria did her dissertation on sea anemones and they remind me/her of the typical 'polyps' of corals & sea anemones.

8 Dec, 2021


Thank you Eileen, yes they also remind me of coral polyps.

8 Dec, 2021


Thank for telling us more Hywel. It is the prettiest of plants and those look-alike Christmas lights are perfect for this time of year. The close up photos of them are lovely. You do look after your many plants so very well.

8 Dec, 2021


Thank you, I enjoy looking after them :)

8 Dec, 2021


Looks so festive. Do they have spines? All my prickly cacti attack me.

8 Dec, 2021


Thank you ... As I always say roses and pyracantha are worse than cacti,
and this one only has white hairs.

8 Dec, 2021


Thank you

9 Dec, 2021


Thank you, Hywel, I'd love a cutting! 👍 I'm PM you later.

9 Dec, 2021


Its a little beauty Hywel. Please show us another shot if it gets lots of red berries?
Was is a rhipsalidopsis or perhaps a Ripsalis, that you lost some yeảrs ago and couldn't find a replacement? Do you remember? I recall writing to the Cactus and Succulent Society for you to see if anybody had one but no luck.

11 Dec, 2021


I think it was Aporocactus flagelliformis Sue. I had some cuttings eventually on ebay and they are growing slowly ... I am pleased about that :)

12 Dec, 2021


Excellent - you must have been very pleased to find some at last! I didn't remember the name, just the general shape of the plant.

13 Dec, 2021


PM on its way to you, Hywel!

14 Dec, 2021


Thank you Paul, you have some nice cacti too :)

15 Dec, 2021

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