Rhipsalis baccifera

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For "Cactus mistletoe", see Tristerix aphylla, a Chilean species of mistletoe, whose preferred hosts are two species of cactus.
Rhipsalis baccifera
Rhipsalis baccifera 01 ies.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Core eudicots
Order: Caryophyllales
Family: Cactaceae
Genus: Rhipsalis
Species: R. baccifera
Binomial name
Rhipsalis baccifera
(J.S.Muell.) Stearn
  • Cactus caripensis Kunth
  • Cactus cassythoides Moc. & Sessé ex DC.
  • Cactus fasciculatus Willd.
  • Cactus pendulus Sw.
  • Cactus quadrangularis Haw.
  • Cassytha baccifera J.S.Muell.
  • Cassytha filiformis Mill.
  • Cassytha polysperma Aiton ex Gaertn.
  • Cereus bacciferus (J.S.Muell.) Hemsl.
  • Cereus caripensis (Kunth) DC.
  • Cereus parasiticus Haw. ex Steud.
  • Cereus quadrangularis Pfeiff.
  • Hariota cassytha Cels ex C.F.Först.
  • Hariota cassytha Lem.
  • Hariota parasitica Kuntze
  • Hatiora fasciculata (Willd.) Kuntze
  • Rhipsalis bartlettii Clover
  • Rhipsalis bermejensis F. Ritter
  • Rhipsalis caripensis (Kunth) F.A.C. Weber
  • Rhipsalis cassytha Gaertn.
  • Rhipsalis cassythoides (Moc. & Sessé ex DC.) Don
  • Rhipsalis comorensis F.A.C. Weber
  • Rhipsalis coralloides Rauh
  • Rhipsalis delphinensis Barthlott
  • Rhipsalis fasciculata (Willd.) Haw.
  • Rhipsalis heptagona Rauh & Backeb.
  • Rhipsalis madagascariensis Weber ex Weber
  • Rhipsalis madagascariensis var. dasycerca F.A.C. Weber
  • Rhipsalis mauritiana (DC.) Barthlott
  • Rhipsalis mauritiana var. ellipticarpa Barthlott
  • Rhipsalis minutiflora K. Schum.
  • Rhipsalis parasitica (Lam.) Haw.
  • Rhipsalis parasiticus Haw.
  • Rhipsalis pendulina A. Berger
  • Rhipsalis pilosa F.A.C. Weber ex K. Schum.
  • Rhipsalis prismatica (Lem.) Rumpler
  • Rhipsalis saxicola Rauh
  • Rhipsalis suareziana F.A.C. Weber
  • Rhipsalis tetragona F.A.C. Weber

Rhipsalis baccifera, commonly known as the mistletoe cactus, is an epiphytic cactus which originates from Central and South America, the Caribbean, and Florida. It is also found throughout the tropics of Africa and into Sri Lanka. Sinhala: Nawahandi (නවහන්දි) [1] . This is the only cactus species naturally occurring outside the New World. One theory is that it was introduced to the Old World by migratory birds, long enough ago for the Old World populations to be regarded as distinct subspecies.[2] The alternative theory is that the species initially crossed the Atlantic Ocean on European ships trading between South America and Africa, after which birds may have spread it more widely.[3]


The species shows considerable polymorphism and can be divided into numerous subspecies. Mesoamerican specimens are usually tetraploid and South American specimens are diploid. The genera currently assigned to the tribe Rhipsalideae (which include Hatiora, Lepismium, and Schlumbergera in addition to Rhipsalis) were subject to considerable confusion and disagreement prior to the clarification by Wilhelm Barthlott and Nigel Taylor in 1995.[4]



  1. ^ Ayurweda Palnts of Sri Lanka
  2. ^ Anderson 2001, p. 611.
  3. ^ Cota-Sánchez, J. Hugo & Bomfim-Patrício, Márcia C. (2010), "Seed morphology, polyploidy and the evolutionary history of the epiphytic cactus Rhipsalis baccifera (Cactaceae)" (PDF), Polibotanica, 29: 107–129, retrieved 2012-05-15 , pp. 117–118
  4. ^ Anderson, Edward F. (2001), The Cactus Family, Pentland, Oregon: Timber Press, ISBN 978-0-88192-498-5 , pp. 102, 375

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