Tuesday, August 24, 2010

A one bloom, nighttime show

Here is my young Hylocerus undatus (pronounced hy-lo-SEER-ee-us un-DAY-tus), more commonly known as night-blooming cereus. This plant from the cactus family spent it's first winter in my east facing window, and then spent this summer on an east facing porch. About a week ago it began to form a huge, prehistoric looking bud, covered in tangles of thin, twining, flesh colored sepals. Last evening, around dusk, those sepals started to open, and the hint of petals could be seen. By 10:00 pm you have the half open flower shown here. This is a one night only, night blooming flower, about 7 inches across. I did not stay up to see it fully opened, as I get up long before sunrise, and thought it would still be open. Sadly, it already had closed and had started to wilt. I wonder if it was pollinated by any night going insect? These plants must come inside during the winter, and have a climbing, trailing habit. There have both flat leafed stems and tall, fast growing, pencil thin, round stems that seem to come up randomly. What a great plant!