Sunday, December 24, 2017

Orssich Brazilian Christmas Cactus: Wild Parent of Cultivated Hybrids


Summary: Orssich Brazilian Christmas cactus suffers from firewood harvesters and illegal collectors but serves as one of four parents to two cultivated hybrids.


Schlumbergera orssichiana is usually grown in hybrid form with other species, especially as the artificial hybrid Schlumbergera x reginae Mcmillan (Schlumbergera orssichiana x Schlumbergera truncata); the S. Reginae group often displays significant amounts of white: February 2007: Nino Barbieri, CC BY SA 2.5, via Wikimedia Commons

Orssich Brazilian Christmas cactus adds to cool weather-loving, high-altitude, moisture-tolerant Western Hemisphere cacti as one of four parents to cultivated hybrid relatives and as one of six of southeast Brazil's wild cactuses.
Orssich cacti bear branching, chlorophyll-rich, leafless, non-cylindrical, segmented stems in contrast to the barrel-bodied, bristly, drought-resistant, heat-tolerant, prickly, spiny cactuses that beautify North America's Old Southwest. Non-spherical shapes and non-tubular sizes compel the Orssich cactus's membership with four of coastal and near-coastal mountainous southeast Brazil's six high-altitude, wild species in flat-stemmed subgroups. Flat stems called cladodes drive Orssich cactus life cycles by drawing energizing, sugary photosynthates from chlorophyll- and sunlight-determined divisions of carbon dioxide and of water vapor.
Declining habitats and populations from firewood harvesters and illegal Orssich Brazilian Christmas cactus collectors exact endangered alerts from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Variously shaped teeth fill the edges and ends of 1.97- to 2.95-inch- (5- to 7.5-centimeter-) long, 1.26- to 1.77-inch- (3.2- to 4.5-centimeter-) wide Orssich cactus segments.
Specialized structures called areoles along the edges and at the ends of stem segments grow buds and 3.54-inch- (9-centimeter-) long flowers 3.54 inches (9 centimeters) across. Pinkish, wide-open flowers hang somewhat vertically and have dark red styles, higher and lower sides in a slight radial asymmetry called zygomorphism and six-to eight-lobed styles. Inner, longer series of 20 to 30 red-tipped, undifferentiated, white-centered petals and sepals called tepals integrate fused bases into a nectar-filled, 0.39-inch- (10-millimeter-) long floral tube.
Orssich Brazilian Christmas cactus joins 5.59- to 6.6-inch- (5.5- to 6.5-centimeter-) long, white-filamented stamens with yellow pollen-filled anthers into base-fused inner and floral tube-juxtaposed outer series.

Orssich cactus knows as fruits five-angled to six-ribbed, fleshy, green-yellow to white, pulpy, succulent, 0.79-inch- (20-millimeter-) long, 0.63-inch- (16-millimeter-) broad berries, each with about 100 seeds.
Fruiting stages at 3,280.84- to 6,561.68-foot (1,000- to 2,000-meter) altitudes above sea level lead to dark brown, flat, semi-curved, 0.19-inch- (1.5-millimeter-) long, 0.04-inch- (1.5-millimeter-) broad seeds. Orssich cacti manage attention-getting displays with brown seeds, green stem segments with curled, reddish margins, green-yellow to green-white berries, magenta styles and yellow anthers and pollen. Cloud forests (matas de neblina) nourish flowering, fruiting and seeding stages of Orssich cactuses, described by German botanist Wilhelm A. Barthlott and English botanist A.J.S. McMillan.
Orssich Brazilian Christmas cactus occurs epiphytically on high-altitude trees, over a 463.32-square-mile (1,200-square-kilometer) area, in Serra do Mar and Serra da Bocaina's Morro dos Três Picos.

Historical records no longer preserve the discovery point in southeast Brazil's coastal states of Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo where Orssich cactus pulls endemic status.
Schlumbergera orssichiana, from French collector Frédéric Schlumberger (April 19, 1823-Feb. 21, 1893) and from Austrian discoverer, Julie Beatrix Aninger, Countess Orssich, qualifies as the scientific name. Countess Orssich's discovery remains best known as co-parent, respectively with Russell's cactus (Schlumbergera russelliana) and with truncated cactus (S. truncata), to the two cultivated hybrid "Queens." Schlumbergera x eprica, named by Frank Süpplie, and S. x reginae, named by A.J.S. McMillan, synthesize Orssich cactus's respective hybridizations with Russell's and with truncated cacti.
Collectors and harvesters threaten Orssich Brazilian Christmas cactus on cloud-forest tree homes even though naturalization-friendly Northern Hemisphere niches throng with its March-, August- and November-blooming hybrids.

Schlumbergera orssichiana grows natively in Parque dos Três Picos, Rio de Janeiro state, southwestern Brazil; Três Picos is the highest point in Rio de Janeiro's protected area mosaic, Central Rio de Janeiro Atlantic Forest Mosaic (Portuguese: Mosaico da Mata Atlântica Central Fluminense); April 27, 2014: Jorge Antonio de Oliveira Vicente, CC BY SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Acknowledgment
My special thanks to:
Talented artists and photographers/concerned organizations who make their fine images available on the Internet;
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University for superior on-campus and on-line resources.
Image credits:
Schlumbergera orssichiana is usually grown in hybrid form with other species, especially as the artificial hybrid Schlumbergera x reginae Mcmillan (Schlumbergera orssichiana x Schlumbergera truncata); the S. Reginae group often displays significant amounts of white: February 2007: Nino Barbieri, CC BY SA 2.5, via Wikimedia Commons @ https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:-_Schlumbergera_trunctata_-.jpg
Schlumbergera orssichiana grows natively in Parque dos Três Picos, Rio de Janeiro state, southwestern Brazil; Três Picos is the highest point in Rio de Janeiro's protected area mosaic, Central Rio de Janeiro Atlantic Forest Mosaic (Portuguese: Mosaico da Mata Atlântica Central Fluminense); April 27, 2014: Jorge Antonio de Oliveira Vicente, CC BY SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons @ https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Parque_Dos_Tres_Picos.jpg

For further information:
Combernoux, Michel. "History of Schlumbergera orssichiana and Its Hybrids." Epiphytic Cacti. Available @ http://cactus-epiphytes.eu/z_page_histoire_schl_orss_et_hybrides_1.htm
McMillan, A.J.S.; and Horobin, J.F. 1995. Christmas Cacti: The Genus Schlumbergera and Its Hybrids. Sherbourne, Dorset: David Hunt.
Meier, Eckhard. "Die Schlumbergera Orssichiana Story." Re-published with permission from Kakblüte april 2006. CactusAndaluz > Schlumbergera > Botanishe Arten.
Available @ http://www.cactusandaluz.de/Text_OrssichianaStory.php
"Schlumbergera orssichiana." Encyclopedia of Life.
Available @ http://www.eol.org/pages/5184923/overview
"Schlumbergera orssichiana Barhlott & McMillan." Tropicos® > Name Search.
Available @ http://www.tropicos.org/Name/100438720
"Schlumbergera orssichiana Barthlott & McMillan in Cact. Succ. J. (US) 50; 30 34 (1978)." Rhipsalis.com > Species.
Available @ http://rhipsalis.com/species/orchissiana.htm
Taylor, N.P.; and Zappi, D. 2013. "Schlumbergera orssichiana." The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2013: e. T151940A578806. http://dx.doi/org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2013-1.RLTS.T151940A578806.en.
Available @ http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/151940/0

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