Can anyone help identify this plant?

ima pseudonym fictitious at alias.incognito.myob
Sat Sep 28 18:44:26 EST 1996


In article <52gkor$fp1 at larry.cc.emory.edu>, thaas at larry.cc.emory.edu says...
>When I was a teenager, I got this plant from a teacher of mine.  She told 
>me it was called "Star of Bethlehem."  It is clearly some type of 
>succulent:  thick leaves and tolerated drying out completely.  The leaves 
>are flat with scolloped edges.  The seem to emerge from the stem almost 
>like the stem just flattens out.  They are like 6-12 inches long, and 
>perhaps 2 inches wide.  There is no symmetrical shape to the plants, 
>leaves and stems seem to can get (for my family, at least) 3-4 feet 
>tall.  It blooms only at night, and the blossom will open only once--by 
>the next morning it has closed.  The stem the blossom is on sort of grows 
>downward, then curves upward slightly, sort of like a side-ward "J".  Any 
>suggestion what this might be, and a book that would help in a positive 
>identification?

You clearly seem to have a cactus of the genus _Epiphyllum_, often called an 
orchid cactus. They are pretty popular in cultivation.  The scalloped "leaves" 
are actually flat stems. This sort of true cactus are rainforest epiphytes 
instead of desert plants.  There are a bunch of species and also various 
hybrids [some with day-flowering colored flowers that last longer than one 
day]. 

cheers




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