Hatiora salicornioides: Drunkard’s Dream

The genus Hatiora comprises only 4 known species of cacti, all native to Brazil. They are either epiphytes or petrophytes (growing on stones or rocks) with a jointed body that is greatly branched, like a shrub. The areoles are spaced irregularly; those at the ends of the joints produce bell-like flowers of moderate size coloured yellow, orange or pink.

Though these are truly lovely and at the same time undemanding plants that would add beauty to any epiphyte branch, only rarely are they encountered other than in botanical gardens.

There is no need for a growing compost. Simply insert a ‘branch’ of the plant in a crack in the bark; it may be secured in place by packing it with a bit of sphagnum moss, which will fully suffice for rooting. If the plant is syringed frequently and put in a spot with full sun, then it will develop into a beautifully branched specimen by the end of the year and will produce flowers at Christmas-time. The fruits, which are rounded, white or pinkish, and partially translucent, are also lovely. The black seeds may be sown directly on bark, the same as with the related genus, Rhipsalis. The plants also appreciate a more nour-ishing compost and can be grown together with orchids in an epiphyte mixture or in a log filled with such a mix. Such plants will naturally grow more rapidly and will attain larger dimensions.

The species is from Brazil, from the states of Rio de Janeiro and Minas Gerais. It has, however, been found far south in the state of Parana. The flowers are only about 1 cm (V2 in) across, bell-shaped and yellow; the fruits are white tinged with pink at the end. The fact that it flowers at Christmas makes this beautiful cactus even more appealing.

15. November 2011 by Dave Pinkney
Categories: Featured Articles, House Plants | Tags: , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Hatiora salicornioides: Drunkard’s Dream

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