Heritage Plant Question

I have a Christmas Cactus, (pink flowering, 18″ long ‘paddle’ leaves),
that is said to be from a cutting in Kansas, ca. 1865.

Is there a possibility it is a rare, unknown or presumed ‘extinct’

Do you know of any experts, collectors or breeders that might like a
sample to check it’s DNA -Maybe it could be of value as a foundation plant!?

There’s a Dec 8, 2015 article from UGA, (University of Georgia Ag
Extension), Extension about some cacti being 100, 150 – 200 years old!,
“Confusion about the Christmnas Cactus – They aren’t from the desert.

Olympia WA


Cultivars and hybrids tend to be grown from cuttings and thus are a single plant. Many species have been in cultivation from a single parent source for 50, 100 years and longer. Christmas cactus are one of those that have been in cultivation for over a century, and having been grown for different flower colors, ending up with many named cultivars. In particular, nobody really knows the original species these come from.

Your plant may well be a Heritage variety, or at least you can call it that if you like. To do so, you need to

  1. Verify it’s a cutting off an old plant in your family or neighborhood grown consistently for a long time
  2. Cultivate it.

Once you have enough cuttings and have grown it into many new plants, you can give it a name, like say Schlumbergera “Pink Dynasty” or whatever you choose, and then start selling it!

If on the other hand you think you may have the original jungle species going back hundreds of years and not a cultivar, then one might choose to pay for DNA testing, compare it in the cactus scientific journals to others, and write a scholarly article indicating if you’ve determined the true source for all Christmas cactus in the world. Short of that, there’s not much scientific interest in an old plant.

Have fun and enjoy!

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