Genus dedicated by Charles Lemaire to Frederic Schlumberger (1823-1893), French manufacturer, collector of cacti in Chateau d’Authieux (now Anthieux) near Rouen, author of several articles on cacti in Revue Horticole. However, Schlumberger neither collected nor discovered the plant. In fact, it was collected by Allan Cunningham (1791-1839), British explorer and botanist.
A genus of epiphytic or epilithic plants, with numerous pendulous or slightly ascending stems, densely branched, segmented, flattened, compressed, two-sided, more rarely three, elongated to obovate, in some species, like cladodes of Opuntia (S. opuntioides), acrotonic branching, with the epidermis becoming purple in the sun. Areoles arranged in the angles and at the end of stems, these being dissimilar on segments producing new stems, or everywhere on stems. Spines short, setose or absent.
Flowers diurnal, self-sterile, almost actinomorphic to strongly zygomorphic, appearing at the end of stems, mostly pink to purple, but also white, yellow, orange or red, especially in cultivars, with a well defined floral tube and tepaloid scales, pollinated by hummingbirds. Fruits berry-like, globose, angled or rounded, pear-shaped to turbinate, pink red or greenish yellow, floral remains persistent or deciduous according to species. Seeds ovate to kidney-shaped, shiny, dark brown, smooth or finely pitted. Seed dispersal ensured by birds and small primates.
The genus Schlumbergera grows as an epiphyte and is endemic to the mountains of southern Brazil parallel to the Atlantic coast, in ombrophilous rainforests, in hollows of trees, in pockets of humus, sometimes on the ground (S. russelliana), also epilithic on rocks, in crevices, from 100 m up to 2790 m in altitude (S. microsphaerica).
Brazil (Espirito Santo, Minas Gerais, Rio de Janeiro).
Currently 7 recognised species + one subspecies:
– Schlumbergera kautskyi* (Horobin & McMillan) N.P.Taylor 1991
– Schlumbergera lutea* Calvente & Zappi 2011 (= ex Hatiora epiphylloides)
– Schlumbergera lutea subsp. bradei* (Porto & A. Cast.) Calvente & Zappi 2011
– Schlumbergera microsphaerica* (K.Schum.) Hovel 1970
– Schlumbergera opuntioldes* (Loefgr. & Dusen) D.R. Hunt 1969
– Schlumbergera orssichiana* Barthlott & McMillan 1978
– Schlumbergera russelliana* (Hook.) Britton & Rose 1913
– Schlumbergera truncata* (Haw.) Moran 1953