Sunday, May 06, 2007

Night-Blooming Cereus

Round the corner from where I live, there is a large, rambling Arizona Night-Blooming Cereus, Reina de la noche, growing in a front garden.
Peniocereus greggii is a slender-stemmed cactus with a large underground tuber that can reach the size of a basketball, and weigh as much as 15 pounds. Occasional specimens are known to weigh as much as 87 pounds. It is reported that native Americans utilized the tuber for food. The grey stems are four to six ribbed, to 12 mm in diameter, and resemble the stems of the shrubs that often support them. The stems are armed with short dark spines along the ribs. Flowers are large and beautiful, salverform, nocturnal, scented, white, to 7.5 cm in diameter. They last only one night. Fruits are red, ovoid, sparsely spiny, fleshy and many-seeded. ... The known range [includes] large areas in central Arizona, southwestern New Mexico, western Texas, and south into Sonora, Mexico at elevations below 4000 ft. from the website of The Desert Botanical Garden, Phoenix, Arizona
I smelled the beautiful scent of the flowers as I turned the corner on my Wednesday morning walk. Much to my surprise, there were only four blooms. In other years, the plant has been covered with them.
The next day, of course, the blooms had shrivelled.When I looked closely at the plant, it seemed that several of the stems had little buds. Very often this species of plant blooms in June. I'll be checking it from time to time to see if more flower stems develop.

8 comments:

su02420 said...

I love reading about and seeing cereus in other parts of the world. Your neighbor's is the most different one I've seen yet. I'm including links to my iMovies. They capture our queen opening several summers ago. Up here in New England, we have to keep ours indoors half of the year.
Enjoy:
http://homepage.mac.com/suecollins/iMovieTheater25.html
and
http://homepage.mac.com/suecollins/iMovieTheater29.html

DivaJood said...

Welcome back to blogging - long hiatus for you. And, yes, sometimes it is needed. I hope all is well for you.

Pam in Tucson said...

su02420 - Thanks for the links to your Cereus movies. They're great! If you have a chance, check out my May 15 post - this baby really bloomed this year!

divajood - Thanks for the welcome. I've been happy with the rest, but needed to come back and share some of our desert wonders. Haven't had much time for photography, alas.

tumamoc said...

I really don't think that is Peniocereus greggii. It looks like something from the Selenicereus genus, a jungle Queen-of-the-Night cactus.

tumamoc said...

...or more probably Echinopsis arboricola

Anonymous said...

Harrisia sp. (http://www.desert-tropicals.com/Plants/Cactaceae/Harrisia.html)

Nathan said...

Hello, I was wondering if I could use a couple of your pictures for my Biology web project. All credit would be cited. Please let me know.

Thanks, Nathan

Pam in Tucson said...

Hello Nathan - Yes, I'd be delighted to have you use my photos for your project. Is the resolution good enough, or would you like me to try to email you ones with higher resolution? I'd love to see your project when you've completed it.