[Illustration: Fig. 87. Pereskia bleo.]
P. zinniaeflora (Zinnia-flowered); Fig. 88.—Stem erect, woody, branching freely, the branches bearing oval, acuminate, fleshy, wavy-edged, green leaves, with short petioles, and a pair of spines in the axil of each. Spine-cushions on old stems crowded with stout, brown spines. Flowers rosy-red, terminal on the ripened young shoots, and composed of a whorl of broad, overlapping petals, with a cluster of stamens in the centre, the whole measuring nearly 2 in. across. This species is a native of Mexico; it grows and flowers freely if kept in a warm house.
[Illustration: Fig. 88. Pereskia zinniaeflora.]
THE GENUS RHIPSALIS.
(From rhips, a willow-branch; referring to the flexible, wand-like branches of some of the kinds.)
About thirty species of Rhipsalis are known, most of them more peculiar than ornamental, although everyone is in some way interesting. They are remarkable for the great variety in form and habit presented by the different kinds, some of them much less resembling Cactuses than other plants. Thus, in R. Cassytha, the long, fleshy, whip-like branches and white berries are very similar to Mistletoe; R. salicornoides, with its leafless, knotty branches, resembles a Salicornia, or Marsh Samphire; another is like a Mesembryanthemum; and so on. The flowers are usually small, and composed of numerous linear sepals and petals, arranged more or less like a star, with a cluster of thin stamens in the centre, and an erect, rayed stigma. In the flat-jointed kinds, the flowers are developed