Rhipsalis burchellii


Erythrorhipsalis burchellii
Rhipsalis cribrata


Originating from southeastern and southern Brazil, Rhipsalis burchellii spans across the states of São Paulo, Espírito Santo, Paraná, and Santa Catarina. It can be found at elevations of up to 900 meters above sea level.
This epiphytic cactus thrives in seasonal Atlantic forests. While there has been some reduction in the size of these forests due to agricultural and urban expansion, it is not as severe as in the northern Atlantic forest regions, where a significant portion of its presumed former habitat has been impacted by industrial pollution. Based on the number of collections and its distribution, Rhipsalis burchellii appears to be reasonably common in its range.


Rhipsalis burchellii, a perennial epiphytic plant hailing from Brazil, exhibits a profusion of delicate, thread-like branches that cascade in whorls. Cream-colored blossoms dangle loosely from the tips of these branches, eventually giving way to pink berries.
The stems of Rhipsalis burchellii are slender, cylindrical, and remarkably fragile, with a determinate growth pattern. They branch out extensively, typically through dichotomous division. Primary branches can extend up to 60 cm, while terminal branch segments measure between 4 to 10 cm in length, and are about 1-2 mm thick. They display hues ranging from light green to a subtle shade of purplish.
On the stems, you’ll find areoles that are wooly in texture, lacking bristles. At the tips of the segments, there are apical composite flowering areoles.
The flowers of this species are campanulate, often appearing in abundance, and range from 10 to 15 mm in length, exhibiting whitish to creamy tones. As they mature, they give way to turbinate fruits, which take on shades of pale pink, rose-colored, brilliant reddish magenta, or purplish magenta.
Distinguishing Rhipsalis burchellii from the widely distributed Rhipsalis campos-portoana, which bears orange fruits, can be challenging, particularly in the absence of specific fruit coloration details.


Rhipsalis burchellii, a forest-dwelling cactus, is known for its ease of cultivation and ability to thrive even with minimal attention. These cacti are known for their longevity.
In terms of exposure, like all Rhipsalis varieties, it prefers partial shade. When it comes to watering, it appreciates ample moisture during the summer months, more so than other cacti. However, it’s important to allow the soil to slightly dry out between waterings.
As for the soil, Rhipsalis burchellii doesn’t favor the typical cactus mix. Instead, it thrives in a soil blend predominantly composed of organic materials like peat or sphagnum moss. This type of soil is commonly used for orchids, bromeliads, and other epiphytic plants.
Regarding hardiness, this cactus is sensitive to frost. It requires nighttime temperatures no cooler than 5°C, especially during the winter months.
For optimal blooming, it’s best to maintain a consistent, high temperature environment. Fluctuations between 4°C and 18°C can lead to fewer flowers. Additionally, once flower buds have formed, avoid moving the plant, as even slight changes in its environment can cause the buds to drop.


Like all Rhipsalis, Rhipsalis burchellii can be easily propagated through stem cuttings. It is sufficient to cut a branch with a sharp knife and put it to root in a well-drained, soft substrate to be maintained moist and at an average temperature of 25ºC until the cutting has put roots. Seeds aren’t often used because of the extreme simplicity of the cutting method.


The name of these cacti is drawn from the Greek term “rhips,” which denotes a reed or the art of weaving with reeds, as seen in basketry. This name is influenced by the slim branches that frequently form a spiral pattern as the plant grows older. Interestingly, they are the only cacti that are found in their natural habitat in the Old World, spanning areas of Asia and Africa.

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