Rhipsalis baccifera 

Scope: Global
Language: English

Translate page into:

Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Plantae Tracheophyta Magnoliopsida Caryophyllales Cactaceae

Scientific Name: Rhipsalis baccifera (Sol. ex J.S.Muell.) Stearn
Common Name(s):
English Mistletoe Cactus
Cassytha baccifera Sol. ex J.S.Muell.
Taxonomic Source(s): Hunt, D., Taylor, N. and Charles, G. (compilers and editors). 2006. The New Cactus Lexicon. dh Books, Milborne Port, UK.
Taxonomic Notes: Hunt et al. (2006) recognize seven subspecies of Rhipsalis baccifera:
  • the nominate subspecies;
  • subsp. cleistogama M.Kessler, Ibisch & Barthlott;
  • subsp. erythrocarpa (K.Schum.) Barthlott;
  • subsp. hileiabaiana N.P.Taylor & Barthlott (this subspecies was previously assessed for the 2002 IUCN Red List as Vulnerable but it has not been reassessed here);
  • subsp. horrida (Baker) Barthlott;
  • subsp. mauritiana (DC.) Barthlott; and
  • subsp. shaferi (Britton & Rose) Bartlott & N.P.Taylor.

Subspecies schaferi, should be treated as a good species (N.P. Taylor and W. Barthlott pers. comms. 2010). This is further confirmed by the work of Korotkova (2011). For the purposes of this assessment, R. shaferi is included under R. baccifera.

Additional subspecies have been described in Africa and Madagascar but these are not recognized by Hunt et al. (2006).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2017
Date Assessed: 2010-09-22
Assessor(s): Arreola, H., Hammel, B., Hilton-Taylor, C., Ishiki, M., Loaiza, C., Nassar, J., Oakley, L., Pin, A., Taylor, N.P., Terrazas, T. & Zappi, D.
Reviewer(s): Superina, M. & Goettsch, B.K.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Tognelli, M.
An extremely widespread species, Rhipsalis baccifera is usually abundant where it occurs. Even though it may be exposed to threats in some areas, none of them are significant to the overall status of the species. Hence, it is listed as Least Concern.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:The species is widely distributed in tropical America and the Caribbean. It can be found in Argentina, Aruba, Bolivia, Brazil, Belize, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guatemala, Guyana, Haití, Honduras, Jamaica, Lesser Antilles, Mexico, Netherlands Antilles, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Puerto Rico, Paraguay, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, United States and Venezuela (Hunt et al. 2006), at elevations between sea level and 1,700 m.
The species is found in the Mexican states of Campeche, Chiapas, Hidalgo, Jalisco, Oaxaca, Puebla, Querétaro, Quintana Roo, San Luis Potosí, Tabasco, Tamaulipas, Veracruz, and Yucatán (Guzmán et al. 2003). In Belize, the species is distributed in the southwestern part of the country in the Chiquibul Forest Reserve (Bridgewater et al. 2006) but its range probably extends to other areas of this country. In Brazil it occurs in Maranhão, Ceará, Paraíba, Pernambuco, and Bahia from sea level to 800 m (Taylor and Zappi 2004). In Venezuela, it is broadly distributed in the central coastal states and all over the western part of the country, while in the east it is found in Sucre, Monagas, and Delta Amacuro states (Ponce 1989). In Peru, the species is found in Jaén, Cajamarca; Tingo, Luya and Chachapoyas, Amazonas; and in Quillabamba, Cusco (Ostolaza 2011).

The species also occurs in tropical Africa from the Ivory Coast to Ethiopia and as far south as South Africa, Madagascar and the Mascarene Islands. It is also reported from Sri Lanka (Hunt et al. 2006; Korotkova 2011).
Countries occurrence:
Anguilla; Antigua and Barbuda; Argentina; Aruba; Barbados; Belize; Bolivia, Plurinational States of; Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba (Saba, Sint Eustatius); Brazil (Bahia, Ceará, Maranhão, Paraíba, Pernambuco, São Paulo); Colombia; Costa Rica; Cuba; Curaçao; Dominica; Dominican Republic; Ecuador; El Salvador; French Guiana; Grenada; Guadeloupe; Guatemala; Guyana; Haiti; Honduras; Jamaica; Madagascar; Martinique; Mexico (Campeche, Chiapas, Hidalgo, Jalisco, Oaxaca, Puebla, Querétaro, Quintana Roo, San Luis Potosí, Tabasco, Tamaulipas, Veracruz, Yucatán); Montserrat; Nicaragua; Panama; Paraguay; Peru; Puerto Rico; Saint Kitts and Nevis; Saint Lucia; Saint Martin (French part); Saint Vincent and the Grenadines; Sint Maarten (Dutch part); South Africa (Eastern Cape Province, KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga); Sri Lanka; Suriname; Trinidad and Tobago; Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of; Virgin Islands, British; Virgin Islands, U.S.
United States (Florida - Native)
Additional data:
Upper elevation limit (metres):1700
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:In most of its range the species is abundant and has stable subpopulations.
Current Population Trend:Stable
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:The species occurs in a wide variety of habitats. In the northern Mexican State of Tamaulipas it is found in low and medium elevation forests (Hernández-Sandoval et al. 1991). In the United States, in the state of Florida, the species occurs in mangrove tidal swamp, epiphytic on buttonwood (Conocarpus erectus; ETFLORA 2002). In the West Indies, Rhipsalis baccifera can be found in moist forests (Tatje 1980 in ETFLORA 2002). In Belize, it occurs in forests (Bridegewater et al. 2006). In Brazil, it grows as an Amazonian forest element: it is epiphytic in mata de brejo and mata tabuleiro and in disjunct Bahian humid forest (Taylor and Zappi 2004). In Africa it is widespread.

In Africa: Epiphytic on rain forest trees and in riverine forest, also in humus on shady rocks (0-14,00 m)

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: The stems of R. baccifera are crushed and used with juice of Lonchocarpus chrysophyllus to treat bites of coral snake (Micrurus sp.) by the French Guiana Wayapi. The peeled stem of the plant is used by the French Guiana Palikur with Philodendron sp. to soothe the wound of the venomous stingray (Potamotrygon sp.) in a cataplasm (a soft moist mass that is spread over the skin). The whole plant is used by Surinam Saramaccan Bush Negroes as an ingredient in a curative herbal bath (DeFilipps et al. 2004).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Given the huge range of this species, it is likely to be affected by a number of minor threats. However, none of these threats is significant enough to warrant any concern.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This cactus occurs in a large number of protected areas across its enormous range. For instance, in Belize it has been reported to occur within the Chiquibul Forest Reserve (Bridgewater et al. 2006). Rhipsalis baccifera is listed under Category 2 in the Honduras National List of Threatened Species of Flora and Fauna, which corresponds to species restricted to only one habitat, subject to exploitation regulations (CONAP 2006). In the United States, the species is considered endangered in the state of Florida.

Amended [top]

Amended reason: The species distribution map has been included.

Citation: Arreola, H., Hammel, B., Hilton-Taylor, C., Ishiki, M., Loaiza, C., Nassar, J., Oakley, L., Pin, A., Taylor, N.P., Terrazas, T. & Zappi, D. 2017. Rhipsalis baccifera (amended version of 2013 assessment). The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2017: e.T62378A121561919. . Downloaded on 20 September 2018.
Disclaimer: To make use of this information, please check the <Terms of Use>.
Feedback: If you see any errors or have any questions or suggestions on what is shown on this page, please provide us with feedback so that we can correct or extend the information provided