See this? This is a Thanksgiving cactus. Which I thought was a Christmas cactus. And wondered why it was blooming right before Thanksgiving. I didn’t even know there was a Thanksgiving cactus. But I remember my grandmother having a cactus exactly like this one. And it bloomed at Thanksgiving. And my sister-in-law has one. Hers blooms at Thanksgiving too. So then I wondered why it was called a Christmas cactus if they always bloomed at Thanksgiving. But I learned something today.
Turns out the Thanksgiving cactus was the first of the species to be discovered and has shorter stem segments than its cousin, the Christmas cactus; but the Thanksgiving cactus blooms earlier, mid to late November, hence the name. The plant originates in Brazil where it’s known as “Flor-de-Maio” and blooms in May . . . which is the beginning of winter in the Southern Hemisphere; marketers in the Northern Hemisphere decided it would be a good plant to sell during the holidays and is commonly referred to as a Christmas cactus . . . unless you happen to have one like mine . . . which I now know is a Thanksgiving cactus. And to confuse me even more, there is a third cactus called the Easter cactus that blooms in the spring – this particular cactus has leaves which are somewhat spiked in appearance – supposedly making it easier to spot said cacti.
And all these years I thought the cactus was confused . . . turns out it was me . . . and now you’ll be the life of the party armed with this information . . .
© 2010, Debra. All rights reserved.