Happy Friday to all the Flower Lovers!
I met up with four of my girlfriends who run this morning for a brisk 6 mile run at 5:45am. Yes, it’s early but the big advantage to me is avoiding as much heat and humidity as posssible. However today there was an even bigger advantage to getting up at the crack of dawn!
We were probably a half mile into our run when we came upon a gentleman standing on the sidewalk with a camera. (The road we run on is residential on one side of the street and the other side is the beautiful Indian River) I asked him if he was waiting to take my picture and he said, “No” but that I would want to turn and take a look at something pretty spectacular. So we stopped……
He told us to look up at this palm tree and explained that the weird plant growing up on it was a Night Blooming Cereus (aka Queen of the Night). What made this plant so special is the fact that they only bloom once a year in May/June after sundown, each flower only blooming once, and are rarely seen by people. They are pollinated by bats. And here we were just out running and got to see this amazing flower in full bloom. BEAUTIFUL!!!!
One of the strangest plants of the desert, the Night-bloomiing Cereus is a member of the Cactus Family that resembles nothing more than a dead bush most of the year. It is rarely seen in the wild because of its inconspicuousness. But for one midsummer’s night each year, its exqusitely scented flower opens as night falls, then closes forever with the first rays of the morning sun.
Sonoran and Chihuahuan deserts of southern Arizona, east to western Texas and south to northern Mexico.
Desert flats and washes between 3000 and 5000 feet, often in the shade of desert shrubs like Creosote.
These very fragrant trumpet-shaped flowers, which bloom for only one night in June or July, are up to 4 inches wide and as much as 8 inches long. The waxy, creamy-white, many-petaled flowers are followed by a red-orange, short-spined ellipitical fruit about 3 inches long.
The Night-blooming Cereus has sparse, angular, lead-gray, twiggy stems about 1/2 inch in diameter. Extremeley small spines grow along the 4 to 6 ribs of these woody stems, which can easily break. It can be erect or sprawling, reaching a length of up to 8 feet, but is usually half that length.