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Zygomorphic flower, probably of a cultivar in the S. Truncata Group, cut in half to show its internal structure In the wild, the species of Schlumbergera grow either on trees (epiphytic) or on rocks (epilithic) and can form sizeable shrubs with woody bases; a height of up to 1.2 m (4 ft) has been reported for one species (S. opuntioides). They are leafless, the green stems acting as photosynthetic organs. The stems are composed of segments, which take one of two forms. In most species the segments are strongly flattened (cladodes), being made up of a central core with two (or more rarely three) "wings". Special structures characteristic of cacti, called "areoles", then occur at the ends of the segments of the stem. In two species the stems are less flattened, more cylinder-shaped, and the areoles are arranged in a more or less spiral pattern all over the segments. In both cases, the areoles, which may have wool and bristles, are where the flower buds appear.The flowers either hang downwards and are almost regular (radially symmetrical or actinomorphic) or, as in most species, are held more or less horizontally with the higher side of the flower different from the lower side (radially asymmetrical or zygomorphic). In those species whose flowers are held up, their angle with the horizontal is relatively constant and is characteristic of the species. Each flower has 20–30 tepals. The outer tepals – those closer to the base of the flower – are short and unconnected, and spread out or curve backwards. The inner tepals – those towards the tip of the flower – are longer and in most species become progressively more fused together at the base to form a floral tube. In some species the difference between the outer and inner tepals creates the appearance of a "flower within a flower". The flowers produce nectar in a chamber at the base of the floral tube.In most species, the many stamens are arranged in two series, with the inner stamens being fused at the base to form a short tubular structure and the outer stamens arising from along the floral tube. The style is usually dark red and has a stigma with 6–8 lobes; the style plus stigma is roughly the same length as the stamens. If the flower is fertilized, a fleshy fruit forms, either smooth or with ribs. The brown or black seeds are about 1 mm in diameter.

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Plant Type




How to Grow


Partial or Dappled Shade

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