Rhipsalis baccifera


Cactus caripensis
Cactus epidendrum
Cactus fasciculatus
Cactus garipensis
Cactus parasiticus
Cactus pendulinus
Cactus pendulus
Cactus quadrangularis
Cassytha baccifera
Cassytha filiformis
Cassytha polysperma
Cereus baccifer
Cereus bacciferus
Cereus caripensis
Cereus parasiticus
Hariota fasciculata
Hatiora fasciculata
Rhipsalis baccifera subsp. fasciculata
Rhipsalis baccifera subsp. rhodocarpa
Rhipsalis caripensis
Rhipsalis cassutha
Rhipsalis cassytha
Rhipsalis cassytha var. mocinoana
Rhipsalis cassytha var. pendula
Rhipsalis cassytha var. rhodocarpa
Rhipsalis cassytha var. swartziana
Rhipsalis cassythopsis
Rhipsalis delphinensis
Rhipsalis fasciculata
Rhipsalis madagascariensis var. dasycerca
Rhipsalis neocassutha
Rhipsalis parasitica
Rhipsalis parasiticus
Rhipsalis pendula


Originating from tropical America and the Caribbean, Rhipsalis baccifera, also known as Mistletoe cactus or Spaghetti cactus, boasts an incredibly vast distribution. This species thrives in numerous countries including Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, and the United States, particularly in Florida. It’s not confined to the Americas alone, as it has also been spotted in tropical regions of Africa, reaching as far as South Africa, Madagascar, and even distant islands like Seychelles and Mauritius.
You can find Rhipsalis baccifera in diverse environments, ranging from low-lying forests to riverine and mangrove areas. It often hangs in sizable clusters on the trunks or branches of large trees. This unique cactus has also made its way to humus-covered rocks in shady spots. Interestingly, it’s the only cactus species naturally existing outside the New World.
There are a couple of theories about how it got to these far-flung locations. One suggests that migratory birds may have carried its seeds, establishing populations in the Old World. Another possibility is that European ships trading between South America and Africa introduced it to the other side of the Atlantic, after which birds may have helped in its further spread.
Rhipsalis baccifera is typically abundant in the areas it inhabits. Birds are attracted to its fruits, facilitating seed dispersal and allowing the species to proliferate swiftly, often taking over trees in a wide expanse. While there may be various minor threats across its extensive range, none of them appear significant enough to raise substantial concern.


Rhipsalis baccifera, commonly known as Mistletoe cactus or Spaghetti cactus, is a charming succulent that hangs gracefully with long, thread-like stems. It can grow in clusters, reaching lengths from 1 to 4 meters, and sometimes even up to 9 meters. Unlike typical cacti, its stems are slender, narrow, and drooping. This plant displays a lot of variation due to different isolated groups in various regions. It can be categorized into several subspecies. The most commonly grown one is Rhipsalis baccifera.
The stems of this plant are flexible and grow in pairs or small groups. They branch out in a way that resembles a fork. The stems are light green, thin, and can be 1 to 4 meters long. When young, they are cylindrical and may produce roots in the air. The plant has small clusters called areoles, which sometimes have tiny white bristles, but these may fade as the plant matures.
In the winter or spring, the plant produces small greenish flowers. These flowers are only about 5 to 10 mm wide. They have cream-colored petals and stamens that grow on a disk. The ovary is exposed. After flowering, it forms fruit that looks like mistletoe. These fruits are spheric, translucent, and can be white, flesh-colored, or even red. They become mature a few days after flowering and are about 5 to 8 mm in diameter. Interestingly, these fruits are edible and have a soft, sweet taste.


Cultivating Rhipsalis baccifera, also known as Mistletoe cactus or Spaghetti cactus, is straightforward, making it a low-maintenance choice among epiphytic cacti. These forest cacti have a reputation for being resilient and can thrive for a long time.
For optimal growth, provide partial shade. When it comes to watering, this plant needs more water during the summer compared to other cacti. However, it’s crucial to allow the soil to slightly dry out between waterings.
Regarding soil, it’s different from what you’d use for typical cacti. Instead, opt for a mix rich in organic matter like peat or sphagnum moss. This kind of soil is commonly used for plants like orchids and bromeliads.
Remember, Mistletoe cacti are sensitive to frost. To ensure their well-being, maintain nighttime temperatures above 5°C, especially during winter.
If you want abundant blooms, aim for consistent, higher temperatures. However, if the temperature fluctuates between 4°C and 18°C, expect fewer flowers. Be cautious when handling the plant once flower buds have formed, as even slight changes in its environment can cause the buds to drop.


Propagation is usually carried out using stem cuttings.


For its skyfall-shaped appearance, Rhipsalis baccifera is often called “the mistletoe cacti”. Also, just like mistletoe, it grows upon other plants in its natural habitat.

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