Plant Systematics and Evolution

, Volume 276, Issue 1–2, pp 1–7 | Cite as

Stem anatomy of Rhipsalis (Cactaceae) and its relevance for taxonomy

  • Alice M. Calvente
  • Regina H. P. Andreata
  • Ricardo C. Vieira
Original Article


Several species of the genus Rhipsalis (Cactaceae) are extremely important as ornamentals and are endangered in their natural habitat. However, only a few studies have addressed its taxonomy, morphology (including anatomy), phylogeny and evolutionary history. Consequently, the limited knowledge of the genus coupled with the problematic delimitation of species had led to problems in the identification of taxa. In the current work six species of Rhipsalis, R. cereoides, R. elliptica, R. grandiflora, R. paradoxa, R. pentaptera and R. teres were studied to evaluate the relevance of anatomical characters for the taxonomy of the genus. An anatomical characterization of the primary structure of the stem of Rhipsalis is provided highlighting the differences between species. Features of the stem epidermis are found to discriminate best between species and therefore provide clear and useful characters for the separation of species.


Anatomy Brazil Cactaceae Rhipsalis Taxonomy 



The authors thank Ana Joffily, Carlos Marques, Danielle Domingues, Nathasha Carvalho and Rodrigo Léo for help during the development of this research; Teresa Terrazas for the suggestions about the anatomical procedures and for kindly providing copies of her papers; and Leonardo Versieux, Marcelo Pace, Mariane Souza, Louis Ronse De Craene and one anonymous reviewer for suggestions in the manuscript. This research was supported by the Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior (Capes) and by the Conselho Nacional de Pesquisas (CNPq)―grants for the first and second authors, respectively―and is part of the M.Sc. dissertation of the first author presented to the Programa de Pós-graduação em Ciências Biológicas (Botânica), Museu Nacional/UFRJ in 2005.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alice M. Calvente
    • 1
  • Regina H. P. Andreata
    • 2
  • Ricardo C. Vieira
    • 3
  1. 1.Laboratório de Sistemática Vegetal, Dep. de Botânica, IBUniversidade de São PauloSão PauloBrazil
  2. 2.Laboratório de Taxonomia de Angiospermas, Instituto de Ciências Biológicas e AmbientaisUniversidade Santa ÚrsulaRio de JaneiroBrazil
  3. 3.Laboratório de Morfologia Vegetal, Instituto de BiociênciasUniversidade Federal do Rio de JaneiroRio de JaneiroBrazil

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