Rhipsalis cereuscula Haworth, Phil. Mag. 7:112. 1830
Desc from B&R 1923

Above: R. . cereuscula, Meadowbrook Farm, © Eddie Huey 2007.

Above: R. cereuscula flower, copyright Ken Friedman


  • Plant - stems and branches terete; stem slender, usually elongated, often erect, sometimes 6 dm. high, crowned by a cluster of short branches; upper branches short, 2 to 6 times as long as thick, somewhat angled.
  • Areoles - bearing 2 to 4 short bristles.
  • Flowers - terminal or near the ends of the branches, 16 mm. broad.
  • Petals - about 12, spreading, pinkish to white with yellowish midrib.
  • Stigma-lobes - 3 or 4.
  • Berries - white.
  • Type locality - Brazil.

DISTRIBUTION - Bolivia ( La Paz), Argentina (Misiones, Corrientes), Paraguay, Uruguay,    Brazil (NE Pernambuco, SE Bahia, S Minas Gerais, W Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, S Mato Grosso do Sul, Parana, Santa Catarina, Rio Grande do Sul): epiphyte in Atlantic and  seasonal forest, 250 - 1700 m altitude.


Note from Bradleya 13

         As to type, R. penduliflora N E Brown (K, holo!) is a synonym of this species, but has been variously applied by subsequent authors.


Desc from Hunt 2006

Branch segments dimorphic; extension shoots cylindric, elongate, 10-30cm x 3-4mm, almost terete; other branches arising in clusters and branching divaricately at their apices. 1-3cm x 3-4mm, obscurely 4-5 angled; areoles marginal with 2-4 short bristles 1-2mm; flower terminal, campanulate, 8-15 x 10-20mm, white; pericarp glabrous; inner tepals erect; fruit obovoid, ca 5mm diam., white.


Philosophical Magazine, or annals of chemistry..... 7. 1830, p. 111-112

Mr. Haworth's Twelfth Decade of New Succulent Plants

Tribus RHIPSALIDEAE DeCand. Pr. 3.475. Semina axi baccae centrali affixa. DeCand. l.c. 

Genus RHIPSALIS. Gaertn. Nob. DeCand. & c. - Hariota Adanson, secund. DeCand. in Rev. Cact. 77.


Cotyledones duae breves obtusae. Calyx 3-6-partitus brevis. Petala sex oblonga patula. DeCand. l.c. Frutices americani parvi parasitici succulenti aphylli insuper praecipuè arborum truncos ramosve. Rami et ramuli articulati plerumque penduli, teretes, vel saepiùs obsoletè striati, seu sulcatuli, sive incipienter 4-5-angulati, semper gracilis et plùs minùs subfasciculatim dichotomi, dichotimiis semiexpansis, setarum exigurarum mox deciduarum fasciculi, ut in Cereo, incipientes, seu ferè obliterati, et quasi, in aetate praecipuè, evanescentes, earum areâ punctiformi sive cicatrice solùm relictâ; ut in Bot. Mag. tab. bona 2740, pro punctos veros delineata. Flores sessiles laterales minimi albi, et in R. grandiflora Nob. opuntiacei: petalis recurvis lutescentibus, et in hoc genere giganteis.


Cereuscula. R. (Small quadrangular) subflexuosè scandenter radicans, articulata : ramis

exiguis subfasciculatis quadrangularibus: setarum radiis interradiis longioribus

criniformibus expansis.


Habitat in Braziliâ, et nunc viget in nobili horto Hort. Soc. Londini, St. _, adhuc sine



Suffrutex nunc pusillus debilis, ramis antiquioribus flexuosis, subfiliformibus

teretiusculis, Cereorum modo valdè scandenter radiculantibus : ramulis subfasciculatim

distincti sive distantibus 4-5-angularibus laetè viridibus, lentisque ope albo veré

punctulatis, setisque affinium parvis, fasciculatim gerentibus. Setarum radii sub-sex in singulo fasciculo, variè patentim vel horizontaliter, sive recurvo-aperientes,

subsesquilineares, radiorum umbone fusco.


R. mesembryanthoidi  Nob. similis; sed duplò altior, minùs aggregata magisque angularis; sed ante eam locarem.


Obs. Adanson's ancient generic name of Hariota, must however be restored to this group;

or at least to the cylindric, smooth, unangled, pendulous part of it; as soon as it can be determined whether the species allied to my Rhipsalis mesembryanthoides do not form of themselves a distinct subgenus from Adanson's genus Hariota; which they probably do. I have never seen Adanson's book, or should, quite as a matter of course, have adopted his earlier genus Hariota. It is probable that both these names may be retained.


English translation

Cotyledons – two, short, blunt, Calyx – 3-6part, short. Petals – 6, oblong, spreading

  • Bush – from America, small, parasitic, succulent, without leaves, mainly growing up on trunks of trees and branches.
  • Branches and branchlets – jointed, very frequently pendulous, terete or often with suppressed striations, or grooved, or indistinct 4-5 angled, always thin and more or less clustered branching in pairs, half spread out in pairs.
  • Bristle bundles – weak, soon deciduous, as in Cereus, indistinct, or almost effaced, and nearly especially in age disappearing, remaining as a single dot or scar in this area just as is drawn in Bot Mag tab. bona 2740.
  • Flowers – sessile, lateral very small white, and as in our R. grandiflora petals recurved shining and for this genus large.

R. cereuscula  (small quadrangular) almost zigzag climbing with (aerial)roots, jointed

  • Branches – weakly clustered, 4 angled
  • Bristle radials – long hair-like and spread out
  • Habitat in Brazil and now thriving in our garden in the Hort Soc London. Until now without flowers.
  • Sub-Shrub - now very small weak, old branches zigzag, almost filiform, moderately tubular, differing from Cereus by its decidedly climbing aerial roots.
  • Branchlets – clustered, distinct or apart, 4 – 5 angled light green, with the help of lenses in fact white dotted.
  • Bristles – close to small, in clusters. bristle radials about 6 in a single cluster, varying from erect or horizontal or recurved ?0pening?, about 3mm diam, Protuberances on the branches dark brown.

Similar to R. mesembryanthoides  but twice as high, less clustered and more angled

but without locality.


Comment by Butcher April 2001. It is interesting that the flowers are clearly lateral for R. cereuscula and yet from B&R onwards they are said to be terminal! Has this been confused with R. teres fa  prismatica?!