Last night we had a happening at our house! The blooming of our Night Blooming Cereus! The Night Blooming Cereus is found in the wild in the Southwest Sonoran and Chichuahuan deserts. It blooms in June or July in the wild, but we have found it to be July or August up north here. Some years the plant won’t bloom, but when it does it is a spectacular sight! This year we had only this one bloom which opened up last night.
The blooms start opening after dark and reaches its peak about midnight. It became about 6-8” in diameter and had a wonderful fragrance which is light and delicate in nature – yet very strong and can be enjoyed from several feet away. By morning the show is over and the bloom is nothing more than a suspended, limp clump of spent flower. But while it is open it is a mesmerizing sight! Last night we had several neighbors stop by, ok, maybe drawn at first to what the heck I was doing with a flashlight and camera at the bottom of our stairs, but the flower became the centerpiece of the evening. I photographed it using a simple Canon PowerShot and a flashlight! I should have run back to the studio and grabbed my regular gear, but it had become such a fun time I just couldn’t pull myself away! These images were taken over about a 2 hour window, and even the light from the flashlight was enough to make it begin to close up, so I would work for a few minutes and then leave it alone.
Because you never know when they will bloom, to see one in bloom in the wild is said to be a once in a lifetime experience. In most places they are protected species in the wild. Also called Moon Cactus (genus Selenicereus), any member of a group of about 20 species of cacti in the family Cactaceae. The plants are native to tropical and subtropical America, including the West Indies. They are widely grown in suitable American climates and have escaped from cultivation. The genus is known for its large, usually fragrant, night-blooming white flowers. Our plant is of the Epiphyllum oxypetalum genus. It propagates by dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets), from leaf cuttings, from herbaceous stem cuttings.
But the bottom line is it provides a spectacular show for a few hours here on this planet. And for that I am very thankful.
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