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Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Queen of the Night Bloom

 Night Blooming Cereus Epiphyllum oxypetalum “Queen of the Night”
“Night Blooming Series – Bermuda

Epiphyllum oxypetalum (Dutchman's pipe cactus or queen of the night) is a species of cactus and one of the most cultivated species in the genus. E. oxypetalum blooms rarely and only at night and the flower wilts before dawn. Though it is sometimes referred to as a nightblooming cereus, it is not closely related to any of the species in the tribe Cereeae, such as Selenicereus, that are more commonly known as nightblooming cereus. All Cereus bloom at night and are terrestrial plants; all Epiphyllum are epiphytic.  From wikipedia
Familiarity with a night blooming plant began as a child, while searching through old postcards in a box in the attic. We lived in our great grandmother’s home, although I never knew her and she died before I was born. Her belongings were in the attic and among the postcards of the West Indies and Bermuda where she traveled and lived, were pictures of night blooming flowers. I was fascinated.
Long forgotten fascination grew with the discovery and purchase of the above postcard. Bermuda was a stopping off place for great grandmother’s travel to the West Indies.  

When visiting a friend recently, she told me a story of her plant, given to her by a woman at her table where she ate each night. Some man brought back a start from the tropics and passed it on when it became too big,  The woman at my friend’s table had it in a one inch thick tin pie plate with hardly any soil and wanted to get rid of it.  My friend took it, planted it with good soil in a beautiful pot and it  grew and prospered so much, like Jack in the Beanstalk, it reached the ceiling. So when I visited, she asked me if I would take it.   “It is the strangest plant! You get a straight stick and watch it grow until it reaches the ceiling”
So we took it and put it in our greenhouse, another friend helped pot it, tie it up, and care for it and it thrived!
and several months later:

 First was a single bud August 19, then a bloom and more buds September 13

Then on September 14, 2016

Epiphyllum oxypetalum blossoms in greenhouse. Night bloom with light on
 photos by Neil W Bryant
What an amazing blessing!

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