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Authority: (Monville) Barthlott 1987
Date Added: 2004-05-11
Entered By: Paul J. Brunelle
Cereus ianthothele Monville 1839,
Pfeiffera ianthothele (Monv.) Weber 1898,
Rhipsalis ianthothele (Monv.) Brandegree 1902,
P. ianthothele var. boliviana Ritter 1980,
P. ianthothele var.. tarijensis Ritter 1980.
Pfeiffer's Gooseberry Cactus.
This epiphytic cactus was one that I added to my collection in 1981 in a trade with a fellow hobbyist, as Pfeiffera ianthothele and it thrived for many years. I often found it very attractive for decoration as a hanging houseplant whether in bloom or out of season. Its seasonal dormancy is short and not at all noticeable, while judicious pruning can keep it looking very well balanced. Allied also to Rhipsalis, the old genus Pfeiffera was recently referred to the genus Lepismium which now consists of 16 species of epiphytic and lithophytic "Jungle Cacti", natives of the forests and cliffs of southeastern Bolivia and northwestern Argentina.
"Pfeiffer’s Gooseberry Cactus" is a small, bushy cactus, with 3- or 4-ribbed branches, each about 2cm wide with up to 4 or 5 short, thin spines and small, white areoles. The stems branch without aerial roots and are easily propagated by division, an especially useful characteristic when pruning the small bushes or when extra plants are desired.
It is generous in producing its smallish, campanulate, white or creamy flowers, quickly followed by gooseberry-like, translucent, pinkish-violet fruit that are barely edible once their spines have been removed.