The Queen Rules the Night

Queen of the Night (Epiphyllum oxypetalum)

Queen of the Night (Epiphyllum oxypetalum)

Epiphyllum oxypetalum struts it’s stuff only at night and then only if you are really paying attention. The last few nights have involved regular checks on the Epiphyllum in the greenhouse.  I could see where I had missed earlier  flowerings and didn’t want to miss the full explosion of flowers.  At about 8pm last night this is what the buds looked like.  The green leaves are Bougainvillea and Guava — the Epiphyllum is the cactus-like stem.

Queen of the Night (Epiphyllum oxypetalum) at 8pm

Queen of the Night (Epiphyllum oxypetalum) at 8pm

By 9:15pm it was clear that this was going to be a special night.

The Queen at 9:15pm

The Queen at 9:15pm

And by 10:30pm they were fully in bloom.

Two flowers of the Queen of the Night (Epiphyllum oxypetalum)

Two flowers of the Queen of the Night (Epiphyllum oxypetalum)

Queen flowers at 10:30pm

Queen flowers at 10:30pm

It’s altogether how amazing the bloom phase is.  For most of it’s year this is really a nondescript, even ugly plant, but when those flowers appear they are wonderful to behold.  The fragrance is difficult to describe.  I called it cinnamon, but Beth said that it was simply spicy.  In any case, simple, easy to grow plant with summertime evening reward…

4 comments on “The Queen Rules the Night

  1. Frank

    Fascinating. For a couple night a year I bet this is the coolest plant in the garden.
    I have a cactus that’s finally bloomed for me and it’s also a night bloomer. Someday I hope to get around to posting pictures and maybe you could take a look for help on an ID?

  2. rusty duck

    It’s a beauty. Why does it bloom at night? What pollinates it in the wild?

    1. jw

      Why does it bloom at night? That’s a very good question indeed. The predominant opinion on the web seems to be that it gets pollinated by bats (or maybe large moths). But there is a paucity of hard fact on this issue. And no pictures that I could find of these growing in the wild. Also, I wonder why it evolved to flower only once a year. And four out of six flowers chose the same night…

      1. rusty duck

        As Spock would say… fascinating!