Scientific name: Schlumbergera truncata ‘Caribbean Dancer’
Common names: Thanksgiving cactus, Christmas cactus, false Christmas cactus, holiday cactus, crab cactus
Nativity: Eastern Brazil
Location: Houseplant at Oakleaf Woods
Date: November 16, 2015
Notes: ‘Caribbean Dancer’ is one of my earliest-blooming Schlumbergera. This year it was in bud by the beginning of October and in bloom by the beginning of the second week of November. The bicolor flowers are also some of the brightest, most intensely colored.
If you call these cacti that bloom in November “Christmas cactus,” you may be corrected with the explanation that Christmas cactus is a different plant altogether—the hybrid Schlumbergera x buckleyi which blooms later—and that Schlumbergera truncata is correctly called, “Thanksgiving cactus.” My feeling is that common names don’t mean much, they aren’t standardized, and really you can call a plant anything you want to. In fact, Schlumbergera truncata is called Christmas cactus more often than not. Using scientific names is the way to avoid misunderstanding. Both of these plants conveniently bloom during our long holiday season in the USA.
Mr. Subjective’s article about Schlumbergera at Plants are the Strangest People is the best, most detailed I’ve seen: http://plantsarethestrangestpeople.blogspot.com/2010/08/tease-schlumbergera-truncata-cvv.html