Monographs Details: Rhipsalis cassutha Gaertn.
Authority: Britton, Nathaniel L. Flora Borinqueña.
Description:Species Description - When a friend asks about a peculiar, green, slender, unarmed, leafless plant, hanging on trees in moist or wet parts of Porto Rico, and you say it is a Cactus, the inquirer is likely to have doubts of your accuracy, the plant being so very different in aspect from all the other Cacti of our Flora. The structure of its small flowers and fruits agree so closely, however, with those of other Cacti, that it, and its numerous relatives in tropical regions are classified as a tribe of the Cactus Family; some of these are much larger than the one here illustrated, the only one growing in Porto Rico, where it occurs on trees, rarely on cliffs, mostly at middle elevations; it is distributed through the Greater Antilles, southern Florida, Tobago, Trinidad, and widely in continental tropical America. The plant also grows in tropical Asia and Africa, presumably of American origin. Junco, and Ojo de gallina are other Spanish names.
Rhipsalis (Greek, wicker-work) a genus established by Gaertner in 1788, with our species typical, includes about 57 species of branched, jointed cacti, growing on trees or on rocks. Their leafless stems are cylindric, angled, or flat, and often bear aerial roots, the small areoles naked, hairy, or sometimes bristly. The flowers, usually solitary at areoles near the ends of branches, are without any tube, their few segments spreading (rotate); the few, or several stamens are separate; the ovary contains several or many ovules, the style is slender, the stigma several-lobed. The fruit is a small berry.
Rhipsalis Cassutha (resembling Cassytha , a genus of a different family) is a drooping plant, forming festoons often 4 meters long, or longer. The cylindric branches and joints are from 3 to 6 millimeters in diameter, mostly opposite, or verticillate, smooth, or when young, tearing a few bristles at the areoles. The flowers are solitary, with few, whitish petals about 2 millimeters long. The globose, white or pink berries are about 5 millimeters in diameter.
Rhipsalis Cassutha Gaertner, De Fructibus et Seminibus Plantarum l: 137. 1788.