Let your heart be a portal for the songs of the universe.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Christmas Cactus

While I ponder the wisdom of a romp with Cooper in the sun-drenched snowfields of the Llano Estacado in 3°F temperatures and wind chills well below 0°F, I’m easily distracted by the beauty of our Christmas Cactus (schlumbergera truncate . It’s also known as Thanksgiving Cactus and Crab Cactus and can have pink, white, yellow, orange, red, or purple flowers. In Brazil, this beauty is known as Flor de Maio. It flowers in May in the Southern Hemisphere.

This cactus originated in the coastal mountains of South-Eastern Brazil. In the wild it grows on trees or rocks in habitats which are generally shady with high humidity. It can form sizeable shrubs with woody bases. Most cultivars of Christmas Cactus have stems and branches resembling toothed, leaf-like pads. The pads join one to the other at the tips as the plant grows. The lavish blossom crop grows from aereoles at joints and tips of the stems.

This Christmas herald has been in our home for many years. It started out as several four to five inch stems rooted in a flower pot. Now some of its branches extend twenty inches and drape the flower stand. It’s a family tradition to have a Christmas Cactus in our home.

© Ilija Lukić 2011

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