Monday, July 21, 2014

Queen of the night (7/20/2014)

A fairly suggestive name here for a cactus that might not look that appealing.  Actually a friend who had dinner at our place on day thought it would lash out and strangle him.  A lady at the yacht club told us she thought it was so ugly she let it die outside in the frost.  When the flower bud came out, friends actually posted a video from “Little shop of horrors” on my Facebook page.

All in good humor, and all were amazed when the flower opened last night.  The night blooming cereus, queen of the night, lady of the night, Epiphyllum oxypetalum, or whatever you like to call it is not the most beautiful plant, but when it blooms at night, it is absolutely stunning.  We were amazed to see a flower bud on our plant a few weeks ago.  In the past few years it always bloomed in spring, but let the truth be known, we kind of neglected it and I think we did not water it for four weeks or so.  The flower started opening around 7 o’clock and by 9 it was fully opened and filling the house up with this wonderful perfume.  The flower is only open one night and then falls off.

I knew the plant from Curacao where I grew up.  People cultivated this plant at home and the word epiphyllum reminds me that this plant is probably an epiphyte which are plants that need support and grow on other plants and over there they grew along tree trunks.  Famous epiphytes of course are some of the orchids.  I remember so well that everyone on the island was excited when they bloomed.  It often occurred that they all bloomed on the same time and people would be calling around asking their friends how many blooms they had that night. 

This is only the third time we have had this particular plant bloom in the 14 so years we had it, but it sure is an event to remember.  Below are three photos, one was taken around 6 in the evening the other at full bloom (at full bloom the flower was 9 inches or 22 cm across).  Enjoy, sorry I could not capture the smell.


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