Sunday, January 24, 2010

Update:Rhipsalis - Mistletoe cactus: are Endangerd in Florida!

(photo is after cleaning up the plant and the planter )

I was cleaning up the plant and pot a bit and found a plastic hand written tag that said "Rhipsalis aka Jungle cactus." That was a serious help , lol, wish i had found this sooner it would have saved me all that energy I spent guessing at what it was! (insert head smack here)

I can not believe that with all the horticulture books, plant encyclopedias, cactus books, and flora and fauna literature I have in this house, I don't have but one dang picture ( and not even a good one at that ) of this plant BUT i did find some good stuff through comments left on my blog ( than goodness for you guys) and through privet emails with friends who own a couple green houses and the internet . ( and I have only begun to scratch the surface ... )

Guess I need to hit the book store ( used and new). humph!
(but, then,... any excuse to hit the book stores right?! ;P )

I have had such a blast the last 24 hours learning about a new plant baby.. There are so many photos out there of really gorgeous specimens of this plant, I hope I have as much luck with this one . Here is some of what I have learned thus far.

apparently these are:
a cacti, (not a succulent but that source could be wrong as I have not found other info else where either confirming or denying it)

a non damaging parasitic plant,
living on trees ( again causing no damage to the tree itself).

usually found in tropic/sub-tropic climates and an "old fashioned" floral planter green, rarely used in the USA currently

and endangered as a wild species in Florida ( but I don't Think I have that species???? I want to believe mine was in a floral arrangement sent to the individual who had it first)

Rhipsalis (rhipsalis comes from the Greek word for "wicker")
Mistletoe cactus
Jungle cactus

Genus: Epiphytic cactus (to be epiphytic is to grow sitting on trees or to root in the tops or bends of host trees ... not exactly the definition, but I get what they mean )
Genus: Rhipsalis , aprox. 40 members strong ( give or take)
Family: Cactaceae

Other names I found for it: ( they had to have a photo that was a very good representation of the plant I am working with currently for me to list the "Folk or Common Names " I list here)
Old Man's Beard
Wickerware cactus
Witches Hair Cactus

Some Basics:

Slow grower

Higher water needs than standard cactus ( once every 2 weeks in the indoor environment when established; when ever the soil looks dry on top when rooting; and When ever the first top inch of soil is dry while out side in summer months .. this could be any where from every day to every week.)

Benefits from a tropical plant type humidity level as apposed to the dryer cactus type environment.

indirect bright filtered light for at least 2 to 4 hours a day in winter and more so in summer ..

Soil : should be slightly acidic composed largely of organic material ( some one even suggested I should grab up some oak leaves ( sounds good) and "hair trimming" -yes my hair - and mix this in to help enrich the growing medium... I will have to think about that one - the hair trimming thing i : best to use an equal parts mix of orchid soil, perlite, sphagnum moss or peat, crushed rocks , and sand,

Apparently it is safe ( so long as the soil quality is good) to harden off any cuttings for 24 hours ( but apparently no longer ) before planting it and it can be stuck back in the pot with the parent-plant so long as there is adequate room for the baby plant to grow.

in the wild:
Lives on trees in the tropics as a non parasitic plant which lives on a host such as a tree.. usually under the canopy as it need filtered bright light.

Effort to re-claim the plant (my combining of suggestions of many sorces came ot these conclusions that hopefully will work best for me) :

first I watered my plant-rescue and let it rest (going on 48 hours now). Because of the conditions of the substrate (completlly dry through out) and the look of the stems (some shriveled to death literaly and others on theier way to it), I now don't think overwatering was the problem. I think this plant had been left to dry for to long, and that is most likely its main source of distress currently.

Second, I peruned this in the following mannor .. ( as suggested by an local-ish botanical employee from Fort Wayne)
Gently grasp a stem that wasn't green between my thumb and first 2 fingers. Give it gentle but firm push with your thumb into your slightly seperated fingers .

The stems that are dead should just pop like... well what they were, dead twigs, and the ones that were still viable barely bent just like she said.

She also suggested I wait at the very least t 48 hours after watering before attempting any propagation technique to give the plant a chance to absorb moisture/nutrients since it was in such questionable shape.

any little stems or such that fell off i placed on a paper plate till tomorrow and will plant those as well to see what can be coaxed to growth and what cant.

So that is where I am on this rescue currently.

In the mean time, I am off to purchase some high grade orchid soil to mix in with the other stuff it is suggested I should use that i already have here.

Some other informations that has really helped:

I found a lot of helpful information on couple of the blogs I follow and thier owners were soooo kind to share what they knew. again THANK YOU !

Here are some other useful Places I found on the web if any one is interested. I will post new photos once i have repotted the parent plant and the new cuttings and learn more about my new to me plant... nothing like a new plant to rekindle a passion hey?

Blessings of renewed passion to everyone
Ma Fey

USDA Natural Resources Conservation Services :
baccifera (Sol. ex J.S. Muell.) Stearn
mistletoe cactus
"Threatened and Endangered Information: Rhipsalis baccifera (Sol. ex J.S. Muell.) Stearn...This plant is listed by the U.S. federal government or a state. Common names are from state and federal lists. Click on a place name to get a complete protected plant list for that location....Florida...Mistletoe cactus...endangered"

Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center
Article: Epiphytes, Birds, and Coffee:..

Cacti in the Mist by Renee O'Connell

Cactus Blog

You Grow Girl

Michel Combernoux's Website Epiphytic Cacti
Article: Epiphytic cacti propagation

Holiday Cacti /Christmas and Easter Cactus

Houseplants- Care and Propagation

Cacti guide . com

Herself's Houseplants

Rhipsalis Capilliformis

sftrajan's photo stream

Save Florida's Native Bromelaides-Epiphytes

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