Sunday, November 7, 2010

Flowers that Keep Astronomer Hours...

This summer, Melinda and I became enchanted by a couple of Cereus plants in the neighborhood. Driving home in the evening, they take on the appearance of floating apparitions, and given that they can be 6" (15cm) or larger in diameter, are easily spotted from a moving car, ghostly white from the headlights. So after finding out what they were, while visiting Home Depot about 6 weeks ago, we found 5 gallon "Peruvian Apple" (Cereus Peruvianus) plants for sale with 3 cacti per container, some already with flower buds. The one I picked out bloomed 2 days later, but in the stress of transport, fell off the next day. About 3 weeks ago, just before our last Midwest trip, we saw some flower buds starting, and one made it to flower, finally opening last night.

We haven't planted them yet, so it is still in the container, and we noticed it opening last night while feeding the cats just after sunset. Had we noted it earlier, it would have made a nice time-lapse sequence, but I took regular shots of it starting about 9pm, before opening fully. They, like all night-blooming plants, only last a night, but they lasted quite long into today with the cooler temperatures of our Fall days. It looked well-pollinated by morning, though I only spotted (and imaged) one bee at 11am. Night pollinators can vary from bats to insects to bees, so we'll try to do better in the future to see how it's done. Assuming we get these in the ground soon and they survive the winter (tolerant to 28F, and it does get colder than that here!), no doubt these guys will make the blog again!

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