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An Exotic
World of Plants

The Plants
of the Palm House

Rhipsalis pilocarpa

English name: Rhipsalis pilocarpa

Latin name: Rhipsalis pilocarpa

Family: Cactus - Cactaceae

Origin: Brazil

This species is found rarely in nature, growing on tree branches in humid forests, or in rock fragments. It has been cultivated in Europe since 1904; the first specimen was brought to the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew, England. Like other species in the Rhipsalis genus, it has pencil-like stems and a nodding habit. However, unlike the others it is covered with hairs that resemble delicate thorns sprouting tufts of tiny areoli. The shoots, in the form of pencil-like cylinders, are about 3 mm. in diameter. In good conditions, the plant produces flowers two or three times a year, most often during the winter and again in summer. The flowers bloom at the end of the stems; they are single, bell-shaped, and open to 1.5 to 2.5 cm. wide; they are fragrant and cream-coloured with a pink tinge at the edges of the petals, and often red in the centre. The fruits are red, spherical berries, which like the shoots are covered with bristly hairs that contain black seeds; they appear after the plant has flowered.

Rhipsalis pilocarpa