Night-blooming Cereus

Night-blooming Cereus, May 22, 2015

Tonight around 9:00 P.M. two blooms appeared on my Night blooming Cereus. Perfect white petals arranged in three layers started opening about 8:00 P.M., and the bold –faced flowers, eight inches in diameter swung gracefully from ten inch long stalks which arose from the very edge of one leaf each. They look like they would drop to the floor any minute. However, each flower stayed attached while spreading an unique fragrance which filled the room.

This took me back to when I was ten years old, when the Cereus in my home in Trivandrum, India bloomed, maybe two or three times a year. There, in the subtropics it bloomed at around 11:00 P.M. All the children stayed up late to see the rare sight. In my home here, the farther North I am, and with the daylight saving time changes, the opening time of these flowers also vary. On the occasions they open in the fall, it happens later, like at 10:00 P.M. onwards.

Shaku flower 3 Shaku Flower 2 Shaku Flower 1

Just as we who moved North adjusted to the movements of the Sun, the Cereus, or (the “Night-blooming Lily” as we used to call it,) also varied its habits of blooming.

Tomorrow the flowers will dangle listless and damp-looking, all the wild white energy spent. The fragrance will linger for another twenty-four hours. That is it. Until more buds appear next month or next spring, whenever that happens.

Shaku Rajagopal

May 22nd, 2015

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