Easter Cactus
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Easter Cactus
ntroduced Photo: Jayesh Patil
Common name: Easter Cactus
Botanical name: Rhipsalidopsis gaertneri    Family: Cactaceae (Cactus family)
Synonyms: Hatiora gaertneri, Epiphyllum gaertneri

Native to the South American rain forests, this cactus is epiphytic, making its home on trees. Its stems are made up of flat, narrow segments connected by a midrib. The segments are not scalloped or toothed. Joints usually flattened, but sometimes 3 to 6-angled, fleshy, 5 cm. long or more by 2 cm. broad, dull green except the purplish crenate margins. Flowers arise 1 to 3, usually all at distal end of the terminal branches, 4 cm long, dark scarlet. Outermost petals are usually 5, short, thick, triangular, spreading. Innermost petals are more erect, nearly distinct, pointed. All of the petals, except the 5 outer ones, are more or less coalesce and withering, remaining on top of ovary. Ovary is crowned by a slightly depressed disk with upturned margin, which passes into the flower-tube. On the margin are borne the free stamens. Style is slender, 1.5 cm. long, red - stigma-lobes 6, linear, cream-colored. Ovary is dark red, angled, 1.2 cm long. Fruit is red, oblong, 1.5 cm long, depressed at the tip.

Identification credit: Jayesh Patil Photographed in Maharashtra.

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