The Easter cactus is in the same family as the holiday cactus and the ever-popular Christmas cacti. The plants can easily be mistaken for one another in a store mainly because the customer often assumes all of the plants are the Christmas cactus. They also all blossom on the days with shorter periods of daylight. The cacti originated in the Organ Mountains in Rio de Janeiro where they grow in the forest on trees. The two plants are succulents but with noticeable differences and ways to identify the Christmas and Easter cactus from one another.
Look at the greenery of the cactus. This is the main feature that will help you determine whether it is an Easter or Christmas cactus. The segmented greenery, or phylloclades, are different from one another.
Notice that the Christmas cactus has jagged, tooth-like notches on the flatter lobed green segments. The Easter cactus has rounded notches on the margins of the segments.
Look for color on the phylloclades. When comparing the two plants, you will see that the Easter cactus has purple edging on the segments.
Note the color of the blossoms when you attempt to identify the Holiday cactus. The Easter cactus blossom has deep pink filaments and yellow anthers in the center of rose-colored petals with deep pink throats. Look at the Christmas cactus and see that is comes in shades of red, pink, lavender and white with red-, pink- or white-colored throats.
Watch for the buds to form on your cactus as the Christmas cactus is prone to blossom in the winter while springtime coaxes the Easter cactus to blossom.