Christmas Cactus (Schlumbergera bridgesii)


                            Christmas Cactus taken by Chris Spangenberg
Flowering Christmas Cactus by Nayana Sondi


       The Christmas Cactus has adapted to the environment in Brazil by growing on tree branches, such as the Cacao tree, and on the ground. However, it is not a parasitic plant because it just uses the substrate as a place to live and does not feed off of a host. It has also adapted by having waxy leaves. It needs these because it needs to hold as much water as possible when it receives it because it typically does not have roots growing into the ground. The flowering process also adapts to the amount of time that the plant spends in the darkness. It cannot be interrupted by any type of light stimulus during this dark period or it will not flower. It blooms around Christmas time because that is when the nights are long enough to provide a sufficient length of darkness for the plant. Photo taken by Chris Spangenberg

       The biggest interaction it has had lately is with humans. It has become a holiday gift and showing for people all over the world, but mostly in the United States. In some areas it has become more popular to have a live Christmas Cactus than a live Christmas Tree! Follow this link for more information on house care for the Christmas Cactus.



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