Rhipsalis flagelliformis

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Rhipsalis flagelliformis

Rhipsalis flagelliformis N.P.Taylor & Zappi in Bradleya 32: 4. 2014 sec. Taylor & al. 20141
    • Paratype: Brazil, Rio de Janeiro state, Mun. Campos dos Goytacazes, c. 50km west of Campos, before the village of Sossego de Imbé (near the limit with Mun. Santa Maria Madalena), epiphyte on trees remaining after deforestation, alt. 20 – 50 m, 15 Jun 2013, Nahoum 1404 (HPL: 13143)
    • Holotype: Brazil, Rio de Janeiro state, Mun. Campos dos Goytacazes, Grandeza, Sítio Imbé, on rocks above river, alt. 190 m, 2 Oct 1974, Sucre & Burle-Marx 10952 (RB: 190637)

Distribution (General)

Brazil: Rio de Janeiro
Currently known from a small, deforested, lowland Atlantic Forest habitat, extending along an unpaved road for a distance of 11 kilometres; where it is epiphytic on a few surviving trees in 4 fragmented subpopulations.A


In vegetative habit and mode of anthesis (many flowers borne densely together along the stem axes) comparable with R. lindbergiana Schumann, but amply distinct in its fertile stem-segments with 5–7 pronounced continuous ribs, clothed in spine-bearing, superficial areoles; ribbed like R. pentaptera Pfeiffer, but differing in having stem-segments of indeterminate growth; stems resembling the juvenile stages of R. pacheco-leonis Loefgren (sens. lat.), but flower-buds not erumpent in contrast to that species; and unusual within Rhipsalideae for its small seeds, <1.0×0.5mm. A


Pendulous epiphyte or lithophyte, 1–4 metres long, ± acrotonically branched, new segments arising in groups of up to 6 from near the distal end of existing segments, turning upwards at first, later pendulous and often hanging close together, developing aerial roots where the stem touches the trunk and branches of the host tree. Stem-segments, at least in part, of indeterminate growth, sometimes to 2 metres long, 8–10mm diam., straight or curved, ribbed; ribs 5–7, continuous, acute, to 4mm high near the growing stem apex, slightly notched at the areoles, sometimes spiralled in relation to the stem’s axis; areoles superficial (i.e. not sunken into the stem), 6–8(–10)mm apart along the ribs, with scant wool, later naked, on the tips of young actively growing stems subtended by rounded, reddish bract-scales (proto-leaves), at first bearing c. 10–15, fine, bristle-like, whitish spines 3–6 mm long, directed forwards, lacking on some stems when old. Flower-buds scarcely or not erumpent; flowers numerous, sometimes arising from nearly every areole on fertile stem-segments (only 1 per areole), expanded, 7mm diam.; perianth- segments 5, rounded-ovate, 3.5mm long, dirty whitish; pericarpel ± spherical to depressed, deep pinkish red, 3.5mm diam.; stamens c. 25, not exserted, variously twisted and curved, to 4mm long, anthers white, minute; style slightly shorter than stamens, whitish, bearing at apex 4 very short, white stigma-lobes and thus appearing clubshaped. Fruits often numerous and dense, sometimes hiding the stem, slightly depressed to globose, 5mm diam., pink at first, becoming pure white at maturity, the scar from the spent perianth c. 1mm diam. Seeds black-brown, <1.0×0.5mm, testa smooth. Seedlings 4-ribbed at first. A


"Here we describe this new taxon as Rhipsalis flagelliformis, alluding to its striking similarity in habit to the well known Mexican rat-tail cactus, Aporocactus flagelliformis".A


A. Taylor, N. P., Olsthoorn, G., Zappi, D., Khew, G. & Quandt, D. 2014: A remarkable new Rhipsalis (Cactaceae) from eastern Brazil. – Bradleya 32: 2-12. http://doi.org/10.25223/brad.n32.2014.a12