History Schlumbergera

The genus Schlumbergera as we know it today contains six species. Charles Lemaire proposed the genus in April 1858 for a plant first described as Epiphyllum russellianum. The genus name honours Frédéric Schlumberger who was well known at that time for his collection of the Cactaceae. Lemaire recignised only one species, which therefore became the type species of the genus: S. russelliana. In the years that followed, a number of new species were discovered and described. Authoritative cactus writers such as Schumann and Berger are forever connected with species in the genus, as are Britton and Rose. The issue of merging (‘lumping’) and splitting of genera already existed at that time as it still does today. Currently we recognize a number of ‘old’ species, such as S. truncate, russelliana, opuntioides and microspearicus, although the last of these has now almost disappeared from cultivation. Not much changed until the (nineteen) seventies, when a new species was discovered: S. orssichiana with unbelievable large flowers of up to 10 cm in length and 7 cm in diameter! Another newly described species was S. kauktskyi. Finally, in 2002, a new combination was made: S. microsphaerica f. candida, a white flowering species, thus completing this brief summery of the history of the genus.