What is an epiphyte?

". . . a plant that grows upon another plant (such as a tree) non-parasitically or sometimes upon some other object (such as a building or a telegraph wire), derives its moisture and nutrients from the air and rain and sometimes from debris accumulating around it, and is found in the temperate zone (as many mosses, liverworts, lichens and algae) and in the tropics (as many ferns, cacti, orchids, and bromeliads) — called also air plants."[1]

From wiki

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Two Rhipsalis Blooming

Many rhipsalis bloom at the same time as the common Christmas cacti 
that so many people keep, Schlumbergera, and make wonderful companions
in the holiday bloom display indoors.


This is rhipsalis pilocarpa, 
sometimes called the mouse tail cactus

due to the appearance and texture of the furry stems.
They bear rather large flowers for a rhipsalis, which dangle
gracefully on long pendulous stems.
It comes from Sao Paulo to Rio de Janeiro, and like it's cousin
the Christmas cactus that shares the region, it is rare and endangered.
Another rhipsalis from this region that blooms alongside my schlumbergera
is the beautiful rhipsalis occidentalis, shown below

The petals are distinctly yellow, and the stamens
spray out whimsically into a poof, these are delicate little flowers
that bear the lightest, cleanest scent when smelled closely.
They are born on very attractive foliage like stems that
hang several feet from the pot in full pendulous form,
I hang this one on the front porch over the summer,
rhipsalis occidentalis

it provides the rich foliage and form that a 
Boston fern provides except it last 
for years and years & only needs water 
once a month ,so no returning home to dead 
plants on the porch, many rhipsalis
with fuller growth are perfect for this, 
I have several that fish in complements
from passers by all season long,
get a few and try them out,
you'll love not throwing out expensive 
dead Boston ferns every year,
Rhipsalis are usually about the same price
as a good Boston fern and offer
their holiday bloom displays,stick them in a
southern window over the winter, 
they don't shed a bit.Very low water needs
and their lovely hanging foliage of many 
many forms swaying gently and carefree 
in the summer breeze will really make
you appreciate them for years.


  1. Those are so beautiful in their daintiness. I love them. I have never seen them before.


  2. These are most unusual, but then I said that with my epi's the first time I saw them.

  3. something about these has grabbed me harder
    than other epiphytes, I just love the year round foliage appearance of rhips ,they look like baskets of weird seaweed or something, the flowers are just icing on the cake., THANKS FOR READING GUYS!

  4. What a beauty! The images are great! Thank you! Also, thanks for your comment on my blog. I have nice images of Aralia japonica in bloom and plan to post them soon.

  5. Those are so lovely and charming little flowers. Your photos are beautiful especially the first and the third one. I am also delighted with your hoyas. The collection from your previous post is just fantastic.

  6. The flowers are so beautiful and delicate. I like the contrast of the plant being so hardy and easy to care for. Thank for identifying the plants in my Arboretum desert post.

  7. Oh very welcome, Mary, I am a green eyed monster where those desert arboretums are concerned, I've never even been to the desert!

  8. Such dainty flowers. I have never seen them, but since they are from Brazil, they might do well where I live too.