69. Lunar Flower

lunar

Night-blooming cereus is the common name referring to a large number of flowering cacti which bloom at night. The other names  are Princess of the Night, Honolulu Queen and the Queen of the Night. Another interesting name is Lunar Flower! This plant is native to Sonora desert in North America.

The plants that bear such flowers can be either tall, columnar and large like trees, or just thin-stemmed climbers. Such a plant grows as a thin stick from a single stem in the ground.

Beneath the ground it has a large tuber of the size of a watermelon. American Indians and early settlers used to eat this tuber for its high nutrient contents.

While some night-blooming cereus may be grown indoors in homes,  most of these plants are found outdoors in tropical areas because of their huge size.

Night-blooming cereus flowers are either white or in very pale shades of other colours. They are usually large and are frequently fragrant. Most of the flowers open after nightfall and are already in the process of wilting by the next dawn.

The flowers are short lived and in some of these species, the flowers bloom only once a year and that too just for a single night around May 30th. The flower stays open until early morning and remains closed for another year!

Pack of rats usually eat these blossoms before the morning. So catching a glimpse of this cactus blossom is very rare indeed!

Some night-blooming cereus plants produce fruits which are large enough for people to consume.  Hylocereus fruit is the best since it lacks the exterior spines of the other cacti fruits, is bright pink coloured, and has a pleasant taste in addition.

Since the late 1990s, Hylocereus fruit have been commercially grown and sold in tropical locations.

 

 

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115 Responses to 69. Lunar Flower

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