By Paladian

A little bit out of season

We always used to call this a Christmas cactus in the UK, and I guess you still do. And in actual fact it's not unknown for us southerners to actually celebrate Christmas in July.

Whatever it's called, this beautiful plant always flowers in the colder months of the year.

Here is what Mr. Wiki says.

Schlumbergera is a small genus of cacti with six species found in the coastal mountains of south-eastern Brazil. Plants grow on trees or rocks in habitats which are generally shady with high humidity and can be quite different in appearance from their desert-dwelling cousins. Most species of Schlumbergera have stems which resemble leaf-like pads joined one to the other and flowers which appear from aureoles at the joints and tips of the stems.

Two species have cylindrical stems more similar to other cacti. In Brazil, the genus is referred to as Flor de Maio (May flower), reflecting the period in which they flower in the Southern Hemisphere.

This genus contains the popular house plants known by a variety of names including Christmas Cactus, Thanksgiving Cactus, Crab Cactus and Holiday Cactus, which are Schlumbergera cultivars, and flower in white, pink, yellow, orange, red or purple.

There you go - the other name I used to use was zygocactus, but it seems that name is now defunct (a good word, defunct), and they are now Schlumbergera. I guess a zygocactus by any other name would smell as sweet, if indeed it did have a perfume.

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