Monday, July 29, 2019

Night Blooming Cereus

I remember attending a late night party at my cousin Janet's home in Danvers to watch the opening of an unusual flower. I'd never before heard of a "Night Blooming Cereus" and thought it very strange that a plant would produce a flower ONLY once a year, and ONLY at night!  I was young at the time and had never been invited to a midnight party, either. So this was a special, memorable occasion.

The white flower was large and impressive!  I was sad that it would only last that one night, but very glad to have witnessed the bloom.

Today, while editing a family history that Janet has compiled from diaries of our 19th century relatives, I noticed this entry: 

July 9, 1875:
I went to J. Robinson's saw 4 Night Blooming Cerius blooms on 1 stalk.
The woman who wrote that diary entry was Mary Ward Nichols, sister of my great-grandfather Andrew Nichols. She was also very much interested in plants, and taught Botany classes.

For more about the Night Blooming Cereus (and photos), see any of these resources:

    How to Take Care of Night Blooming Cereus
Four different plants are commonly referred to as night-blooming cereus. These include dragon fruit (Hylocereus undatus), also sometimes referred to as pitaya or strawberry pear, and Dutchman’s Pipe (Epiphyllum oxypetalum). The other two (Peniocereus greggii) and (Selenicereus grandiflorus) share yet another commonly used name, queen of the night. All four are desert cactuses that bloom once a year in the summer when the temperature drops at night. Their large, fragrant flowers are showy white (or sometimes pink) and present a startling display in contrast to their typically unassuming appearance.
   How to Make Night Blooming Cereus Bloom

   Time-lapse video (YouTube)   12 hours in 40 seconds

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