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Mistletoe Cactus, or Rhipsalis baccifera, is a unique houseplant with trailing succulent-like stems, making this a great hanging plant. Most people imagine cacti to be large, spiny, desert-dwelling plants. However there is a group of cactus species that come from the humid tropical forests, and they look very different from their desert-dwelling relatives. They are epiphytes (in other words they live among the branches of trees) and they need to get all of the nutrients and water from the air or that which gets trapped in amongst the branches and leaves of the trees.
Rhipsalis baccifera is one of the mistletoe cacti. It has long, slender jointed, branched cylindrical and generally smooth stems that hang down in long spidery clusters. Like all cacti, it has no leaves and photosynthesis occurs in the fleshy, semi-succulent stems, which occasionally produce adventitious roots . At the end of the stems, small, fairly insignificant flowers grow, leading eventually to small white (or pinkish white) berries that resemble those found on mistletoe (hence its popular name).
As a species it is quite variable, and it is one of only a very few species of cactus that is found naturally beyond the Americas - it is thought that seeds from the plant may have been carried by migrating birds to Africa and beyond, or even on the ships of early explorers.
The first specimen was brought to England by Mr Philip Miller in 1758, which he brought from the Caribbean