The Thanksgiving cactus has branching, jointed stems that are erect then drooping.
The flattened dark green rectangular stem segments have 2 teeth on the end.
Each side has 1 to 4 sharp teeth that point towards the end of the segment.
Areoles in the axils of the side teeth may have a few woolly hairs or short spines.
The long terminal areole has woolly hairs.
The roughly horizontal flowers are on the end of the dropping branches and the segment joints.
The bilaterally symmetric flowers have a basal hypanthium.
The lower shorter tepals are free and the longer inner ones form a floral tube.
The tips of all the magenta tepals curve out and back.
The stamens are in 2 whorls and the round inferior ovary has a purple style.
Plants seen may be Schlumbergera truncata but most are its cultivars with Schlumbergera x buckleyi which
is itself a cross between S. russelliana and S. truncata.
Cultivars may then be crossed with the above or with other newer cultivars
forming plants with very complex, and at times unknown parentage.
There are hundreds of cultivars that can be divided into groups based on which parent they most resemble.
The 2 main groups are the Truncata and Buckleyi Groups.
The Truncata Group have pointed teeth on the stem segments and asymmetric flowers with yellow pollen that are held at or
above the horizontal plane.
Cultivars in the Buckleyi Group have some features of S. russelliana which is one parent of Schlumbergera x buckleyi.
They have rounded teeth on the stem segments, more symmetric flowers that are held below the horizontal plane and pink pollen.
Tepal colours are often pastel shades of pink orange yellow cream salmon lavender or darker reds purple or magenta as well as white.
The base, middle and end sections may be different colours with sharp or diffuse borders between them and the edges are sometimes frilled.