Sunday, December 27, 2009

Random plant event: Hatiora salicornioides flower

I was afraid that something would happen and all the buds would drop off, but I have at last seen a Hatiora salicornioides1 flower. And although I kind of expected to be disappointed, I really wasn't.

First, the plant in general, to show the scale, more or less. The individual segments of stem are roughly 3/4 inch to 1 inch long (1.9-2.5 cm), and the flower is about half an inch (1.3 cm) long.

And then the flower itself, which on some plants is orange, or yellow with orange tips, but my plant's flower is just yellow.

Though it's a much brighter yellow than I was expecting, from the photos I'd seen.

So far, I've only got one flower open, and another five or six buds, so it's perhaps not going to be a huge show. Too early to tell, really, since the websites mostly agree that flowering can happen throughout the winter and spring.

Not that I care particularly if it continues. I waited three years2 to see any flowers (and never actually expected to see one), so it seems downright ungrateful to complain that it's not a bigger show. We'll see how it progresses.


1 (Possibly Rhipsalis salicornioides: Wikipedia and Cactus Blog go with Rhipsalis, but,,, and all go with Hatiora, as has PATSP to date. Virtually every place that gives you one name will give the other one too, so it's not a controversy with a lot of real-world application.)
2 I bought the plant in question in March 2007.


Tigerdawn said...

Just curious... why were you up posting a blog at 4:30 in the morning?

lynn'sgarden said...

Those close-ups are wonderful, Mr_Subj..a cheerful shade! I can't remember if you'd mentioned the blooms are fragrant or not?

mr_subjunctive said...


I wasn't; all the posts are written in advance (at least the night before). I originally started them posting at 4:30 AM because I was getting up at 5:30 AM, and that way I could review them and correct any errors before too many people had seen the post. I'm not getting up that early anymore, but never saw a compelling reason to change the posting time.


They're not. Or at least I don't think they are. I haven't noticed a scent, and I don't recall anybody else mentioning one either.

CelticRose said...

By coincidence, someone on CactiGuide posted about one these today. He's calling it Rhipsalis salicornioides AKA Drunkards Dream. I've asked what's up with the names (synonyms maybe?) and will pass along any reply.

Nice flower, btw. :-)

James David said...

I had seen this type in the tropical area but I guess they must be different. The locals call them "patah tulang" which means broken bones.
I wonder whether these have a white milksap which is poisonous.
Thanks for adding my blog in my followers list.

mr_subjunctive said...

James Missier:

I think you're thinking of Euphorbia tirucalli as patah tulang; it has a milky, poisonous sap, non-segmented stems, and gets very large.

This plant, Hatiora salicornioides, is much smaller, has segmented stems and clear sap, and as far as I know is not poisonous.

Both plants are tropical; all of mine live in my house, not outside.

CelticRose said...

Update: It looks like you've got the right name for this plant. Rhipsalis is an obsolete name for it. Apparently the flower color and fruit shape fits better with Hatiora than with Rhipsalis. There's more info on the thread I linked in my earlier comment.

hydrophyte said...

Nice shots. I have often seen the little berries on Rhipsalis cacti, but I have never noticed blooms before.

You know it's funny I remember learning some time ago that all true cacti were of New World origin, but I seem to also remember hearing that Rhipsalis occur in Africa and Madagascar. Is this correct?

mr_subjunctive said...


That's a relief. I hate doing search-and-replace on the whole blog.


Wikipedia has it that Rhipsalis is a new world genus, except for the one species R. baccifera, which is "found throughout the New World, but additionally in Africa, Madagascar, Sri Lanka, India and Nepal." This fits what I remember, though it's entirely possible that I remember it from reading it at Wikipedia to begin with.

Aralia said...

This blogger ( says (in finnish), that her granny had a Hatiora, that bloomed with a flower in every branch. It looked all yellow at the time. So maybe you have the right to be disappointed. Maybe old cool houses fit these plants better than her apartment, since the plant blooms like yours.

mr_subjunctive said...

Temperature may in fact be key: the plant room is cooler than the rest of the house in the winter, and this is probably the first time since I bought the plant that it's ever been that cold.

It's not like it was just one bloom and done: as I write, I have four flowers on that plant, plus three buds that haven't opened yet. I think it may continue to bloom for a while. All the websites say winter and spring, and we're still a few months from spring. So maybe I should be disappointed, and maybe I shouldn't: still too early to tell, I think.