Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Mysterious Cereus!

Like most home owners, we like having a few plants around.  Of course, with the cats, houseplants are mostly out of the question, and the exterior plants mostly eventually die lack of attention - mostly the needed watering every other day through the hot, dry Spring...  Desert plants fare a little better, especially those in the ground.  Pots are harder because they need extra water, and they are also exposed to the cold (for us) night time Winter temperatures.

A couple years back, our neighbor Jack, who has appeared before with his spectacular cactus, was throwing out some cuttings that we stuck in a pot.  They survived even our care and a couple weeks ago we noticed some flower buds.  We didn't think a lot of it because most cacti flower in the Spring, but these buds kept getting bigger and bigger until it was bigger around than the body of the cactus! 

Finally late the other afternoon it appeared to be undergoing its flowering - a night bloomer, likely a Cereus!  We've got other cereus cacti, in fact, we did a time lapse last August of it's blooming.  But this one is much smaller diameter - how exciting can it be? 

In any event, I grabbed the camera, two in fact,
and set them up for another night-long time-lapse, taking a photo every 2 minutes using the on-camera flash.  While the flower opened on cue through the night, no pollinators appeared like last Summer's version...  But the pictures were dutifully taken through the night and assembled here are photos taken every 2 hours, left-to-right, top-to-bottom.  Like our other cereus repandus, the flower is quite spectacular, with little-to-no scent to it...  It is almost shocking that such a large flower comes out of a skinny cactus!  Identification is difficult, though.  Searching through the multitude of photos under Cereus Cactus on Google brings up thousands of flowers that look very similar, but the body of the cactus was never a match to ours.  Melinda leans towards Trichocereus Buena Vista, a hybrid.  I was thinking more of a Trichocereus Pachanoi, a native of South America.  In any event, we've got a couple more buds on another branch, so may get a replay in a week or so.  Looking forward to it!

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