Jungle Cacti Have Cladodes, However What Are They Doing For The Plant?

Many jungle cacti are widespread vegetation and it’s possible you’ll even have one. Examples of those cacti are Thanksgiving and Christmas cactus, epiphyllums, and Rhipsalis. These cacti develop as epiphytes on timber and different constructions within the jungles of Central and South America. They’ve cladodes, however what are they and what are they doing for the plant? 

Cladodes or phylloclades

So, what’s a cladode (also called a phylloclade)? In accordance with The Free Dictionary, “A photosynthetic department or portion of a stem that features as or resembles a leaf, as the pad of a prickly-pear cactus. Additionally referred to as cladophyll. ” Although most vegetation have leaves that photosynthesize and produce meals, these jungle cacti have cladodes, that are flattened stems. Some do resemble leaves however are usually not, but they’re photosynthesizing for the plant like leaves. 

Selenicereus chrysocardium

That is the cladode of the fern leaf cactus or Selenicereus chrysocardium

Vacation Cacti

The ever-present vacation cacti, accessible on the market close to Thanksgiving, are true jungle cacti and their “leaves” are cladodes or flattened stems. The flowers emerge from the areoles on the ends of the cladodes and these are what set cacti other than succulents. The Free Dictionary: Areole: “small, specialised, cushionlike space on a cactus from which hairs, glochids, spines, branches, or flowers could come up.” 

Here’s a flower beneath, arising from the areole on the finish of the cladode.

Thanksgiving cactus

Thanksgiving cactus, Schlumbergera


Lately my Epiphyllum oxypetalum or queen of the evening, bloomed and has two new buds proper now. I can’t wait to see it bloom once more. Their white flowers open at nightfall and by daybreak, have closed up. You may see the brand new bud beneath. The opposite footage are of epiphyllums which have thicker cladodes and their colourful flowers open throughout the day. The night-blooming plant is white so its pollinators, bats, and moths, can discover it and the day-bloomers have colourful flowers to draw their pollinators; hummingbirds, butterflies, and different bugs. 

Beneath are the Epiphyllum oxypetalum that blooms white at evening and the epiphyllum that blooms vivid pink throughout the day. They entice completely different pollinators. 

Different vegetation

One other acquainted plant, typically used as a “filler” in our summer time containers is the asparagus fern (not a real fern). Their leaves are flattened cladodes, as properly. It isn’t a jungle cactus, however thought you would possibly wish to know. 

Asparagus fern

The small needles on the asparagus fern are cladodes


Cladodes are flattened stems, seen totally on epiphytic jungle cactus, and they’re photosynthesizing and making meals for the plant like leaves. Aren’t vegetation wonderful?!

Have a terrific week, plant mates!


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