Monday, July 16, 2007

night blooming cactus

I wait for this cactus to bloom all year and most of the time I miss it. The lead up is torturous: buds plump up over a few weeks, from nothing to 8 inches long. Then they balloon out, till you think they can't get any larger before bursting open. Sometimes I get back to the house and find the spent bloom, collapsed in upon itself, a mere remnant of its former glory. But every once in a while, I get the full monty.

These flowers open at night and only last 1 day. Since the plant lives in PA and I'm in NYC half the time...well you see how that works. This year I've missed 3 blooms since the end of May but yesterday my patience was rewarded. The flower is at least 8 inches across and fragrant. Pistils and stamens are intricate and powdery, and the petals (and sepals!) are a study in different shades of white.

I'd grow this plant even if it didn't flower, because the structure is so interesting: classic cactus barrels with serious spikes. I like a plant that demands your respect, then rewards you for good behavior.


At July 16, 2007 at 1:32 PM , Blogger Domino Bianchi said...

Great shot. that thing is huge. our heart hoya just put out TWO blooms which i'm excited for.

At July 16, 2007 at 6:49 PM , Blogger molly said...

and we took a photo of a bloom very similar, if not the exact plant, to this at K&J's...been meaning to send it to you! gorgeous. you're lucky!

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